ATLANTA -- It's a split second decision you can't undo, that moment after you hit send on an email, to the wrong person.
Crystal Lively didn't realize her mistake. Or that it was about to help someone in big trouble.
"We got engaged on a Saturday and on Wednesday he was diagnosed."
That mistake email popped into Donna Frederick's inbox two days after her fiance Marc Gelinas had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She remembers, "He was given this diagnosis at the end of the day on Wednesday. The next day is Thanksgiving. There's not a doctor in the office."
That weekend is when Lively, an area manager with Mattress Firm, sent the email 'Purple Perspectives,' to her fellow managers. It was an update on the latest research from Mattress Firm's big cause, pancreatic cancer. Purple dots every store, on trees and signs that show its commitment, along with the $2 million dollars the company has given to research.
Sitting in their Buckhead condo, Marc recalls, "It was completely coincidence. She was accidentally added to an email thread in a corporate environment."
Donna, who works for a venue where Mattress Firm was holding its holiday party, called Crystal during Black Friday weekend after she received the email. Lively says she was shocked to discover her mistake.
"Just the varied emotions because how busy we were in the store," she said. "First thinking I'm going to be in trouble because I sent the email to the wrong person but then thinking 'This is okay, we can help them!' It worked out to be a small miracle."
And suddenly the sales of mattresses became secondary to connecting Marc and Donna with experts and help, and hope. Phone calls flew around the country that day. Lively says, "They were so scared. They were left with no information other than the diagnosis."
Mattress Firm foundation members got Marc and Donna in touch with the team at Emory that they recommended.
On Monday, Donna and Marc walked into Emory and the journey began. Chemo shrank the tumor. Surgery removed it.
"They got all of it," Marc says.
Mark was cancer free for their August 15th wedding this summer. "It was like the end of what I went through. I needed that date. to be steadfast."
It was a mistake that became a happy accident. Donna says it was a message from God in her inbox. "I remember telling my mom I waited 38 years for this man and i'm not going out like this so we both just said what do we have to do."
To learn more about Mattress Firm Foundation for pancreatic cancer research, clickhere.
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