For a good cause

To buy a deck of cards, contact Pat Linn via e-mail at pat493@juno.com.

DONNA —The doctors told Pat Linn she would likely die if she did not immediately have quadruple bypass surgery.

She refused to go under the knife. That was two and half years ago in spring 2005.

“I was not prepared to hear anything like that,” Linn recalled. “And I said, ‘I can’t. I’m working on this project.’”

That project was putting together a deck of cards, all of which would have pictures of women in costumes, ranging from an angel to a devil to a school teacher. Linn planned to sell the cards to benefit charity.

Then came the news about the life-threatening operation.

Linn, who had a heart attack and double bypass surgery about 10 years ago, felt the risk of another operation outweighed the possible benefit. So she opted to battle heart disease with steady medication and physical therapy. Her health improving, she has now decided to help others who share her affliction.

Linn finished that deck of cards, complete with photos of more than 50 women in costumes. She sold the card decks, raising about $5,000 for charity. When the next year rolled around, she decided to make yet another deck. This time she would donate the proceeds to a charity closer to her heart.

She sells the most recent deck of cards for $10, all the money going to benefit the American Heart Association.

When Linn first made the deck, she presented a $1,500 check to the group. The sales of these decks — about 250 remain unsold — go to recoup that $1,500 she already donated. But she doesn’t mind if she takes a hit, or if all the decks just sit around collecting dust. To her, helping the American Heart Association was already reward enough.

Also, she enjoyed putting the deck together, though she said it was a bit challenging.

“It just sounded like a fun idea,” Linn said. “It sounded like something I would want to try. I had never done anything like that before in my life. I had no experience whatsoever.”

The American Heart Association benefited from her trying something new and finishing those decks. The Dallas-based nonprofit organization works to build healthier lives free of heart attacks and strokes, according to its mission statement. Any funds raised for the association go to further that goal.

On Jan. 2, Linn expects to leave Minnesota and drive to Bit-O-Heaven Mobile Home Park in Donna, where she spends her winters. Two and half years ago, no doctor thought she would be healthy enough to live without surgery, let alone make such a long haul.

And when she gets here, those decks of cards will be for sale.

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Zack Quaintance covers law enforcement and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4447.