Secret Millionaire, Marc Paskin, Gives to Woman with Invisible Disability

This is Not a Story About Money, but of a Man Who Learned That Giving Time and Love is Priceless.

ABC TV’s hit show, the Secret Millionaire sends millionaires out to experience a life on

a very small budget and with the goal of finding amazing organizations doing incredible work in their community.

On the show that aired March 13, 2011, San Diego millionaire Marc Paskin embarked on an adventure that taught him some valuable lessons he will never forget.

“Marc Paskin came from a poor family and worked his way through college. He used his life savings of a thousand bucks for a down payment on a duplex. That was the start of a career in buying and selling real estate that turned him into a multi-millionaire” (ABC Secret Millionaire). Paskin is now a Real Estate Investor at The Paskin Group. He and his wife, Marsha were married for 28 years until she tragically passed away due to diabetes.

Paskin was sent to Detroit, Michigan for 6 days, with no credit cards and only $40 cash for groceries. Set out to meet people making a difference in the lives of others, Paskin met and volunteered with three different organizations.

First, he met Beverly at Young Detroit Builders, who focus on youth who have lived a challenging life and train them to manage their finances and how to do various construction jobs. YDB rehabilitates or builds new homes for low income families and people with disabilities. In the past 17  years, they have rebuilt 800 homes. At the end of the show, Paskin presented YDB with a check for $40,000.

Another group Paskin discovered was The Man Network, which uses volunteers from the neighborhood to patrol by car and foot. Their presence helps keep the neighborhood safer.  At the end of the show, Paskin presented them with a check for $10,000.

Seemingly Paskin’s most touching experience was through meeting John from Really Living. This organization gives uninsured patients free transportation to medical appointments and some household help. So, Paskin signed up and picked up Matt for his dialysis.

During this appointment, Paskin met Courtney, a 24 year old mom on dialysis. Courtney had a kidney transplant four years prior, which went into failure three years before the show. Marc asked how he could help Courtney who shared she needed help with moving some things in her house to the storage. She said, “Anything you do would be wonderful for me.”

Many living with debilitating conditions value a bit of time someone can spend with them to give a little help around the house or just be there as a friend. Loved ones often think it takes a ton of time or effort, but it is the little things that can bring joy to those whose battle illness and pain. Paskin commented, “I was not only helping her with chores around the house, but spending some time letting her know people care about her … care about her daughter.”

While  spending time with Courtney, she shared about her 4 year old  daughter, London, who was born at  27 weeks weighing only 1 lb 10  oz  and had an emergency colostomy.  London was in the hospital 2 months  then Courtney’s transplant  failed.  Paskin commented, “I just feel bad  about what she has to go through in  life.”

At the end of the show, Paskin gave John at Really Living $40,000. In addition, he surprised everyone when he gave the last check to Courtney and her daughter in the amount of $20,000. Paskin said, “I see what she’s going through and she breaks my heart and i wanted to do something nice for her.”

To wrap up the show, Paskin shared a few things he discovered while on this mission. He said:

“I’ve always thought it’s good to do good things for people, but maybe I didn’t quite realize how much they appreciate it and how important it is. So I’ve learned a lot.” Paskin added, “Not everybody has money they can give away, but everybody can give some of their time and some of their love to people and it would be a better world if everybody would do that.”

These are words that we can take to heart, as we think about our friend or family member or neighbor living with a debilitating condition. We can all make a difference!


ABC Secret Millionaire

The Man Network

The Paskin Group

Really Living

Young Detroit Builders


Actress Marlee Matlin Raises a Million Dollars for the Starkey Hearing Foundation

Actor Gary Busey Wins 40K for Brain Injury Center


The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!


  1. Lori Ratterman says

    In the above article, Marc Paskin said, ““Not everybody has money they can give away, but everybody can give some of their time and some of their love to people and it would be a better world if everybody would do that.”

    I just want to let you know how amazingly right you are! Unfortunately it is often our families who disregard us the most. Not being able to get medical attention, or get TO the doctors you need to get to, is so discouraging! It’s not bad enough to lose your independence, but it also makes you feel isolated, ineffective, unappreciated (I could go on and on…), thus causing depression and emotional breakdown on top of it all.

    I have a congenital disorder, Chiari Malformation 1 (where my brain herniated out of the bottom of my skull, causing compression on my brain stem and spinal cord) . I also have Dercum’s Disease (this is a tumor disorder. I have hundreds of benign, but painful tumors throughout my body). There is no cure for either disorder. There are several other disorders that go along with my Chiari, which the doctors suspect (intracranial hypertension, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and dysautonomia to name a few). I can’t get to the facilities I need to go to for further testing, nor can I afford the tests (even though I have private insurance, I have deductibles and out of pocket maximums that are almost half of my private disability income). Recently I was also told that I tested positive for Lupus and a thyroid disorder, though I also cannot afford the additional tests required for either of these.

    Unfortunately, my journey is shared by so many. Even those who can get to where they need to go, and who can afford the tests, often are faced with doctors who don’t know what they’re dealing with and who make misdiagnoses or even worse, horrible accusations of the patients, calling them pill-seekers, hypochondriacs, saying they’re “just” depressed… etc. The information is out there for those medical professionals who truly care to seek it. Just because they don’t know or don’t understand something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. No one said medicine was easy… that is why the smarter you are, the higher your chances for getting into these fields. So you should reflect, did you do it because you truly care about the oath you swore to, or is it about the money?

    After a car accident, I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation almost 15 years ago. I was told it was “a benign finding that would never cause me any problems”. I was a vibrant, passionate woman who worked, raised a family, helped run a family business, volunteered her time to others. Today, I have been on disability for more than three years, had brain surgery last year, and am still faced with daily debilitating pain, numbness and tingling especially in my extremities, vision disturbances, dizziness, and a host of other symptoms. Had one of the 20+ doctors I had seen over the years ever bothered to do their homework… my life today might be completely different. Though I’ve had some symptoms as long as I can remember, the worst of them started following my accident… as is common… and should have been thoroughly researched long before now.

    Today, though I cannot drive or get to the places I need to get to, I am serving as the Indianapolis, IN Representative for the Conquer Chiari Walk Across America 2011, which will take place in locations around the US on September 17th. (For more information on how you can participate in or support this walk, please go to My contacts with people are via phone, internet and email, and rarely in person, when I have someone to take me places. I am in this fight with Conquer Chiari to raise funds for research, education (patient and medical professional), and awareness… not for myself, as it won’t happen in my lifetime, but for the children who go through the same daily issues and pain I do, but who, in many instances, cannot even communicate with their parents and doctors… as well as, for the children to come.

    Just in the past month, the Chiari Community has lost several wonderful people to this battle… one of which was a personal friend of mine. These losses are great… not just to the families, but to the extended community to which they are a part. These deaths didn’t need to occur. We just need to bring awareness and educate others (especially the medical community) with regard to this disease.

    If you are reading this and someone you know has an invisible disability… find a way… ANY way… to brighten their world, bring them some sense of comfort and peace. (And please take note… we KNOW you cannot alleviate our pain and suffering.) Even if it is just calling to say, “Hey, I’m on my way to the store. Is there anything I can pick up for you?”, or “Hey, I’ve got some free time. How about lunch (dinner/a cup of coffee)?” There are so many ways to brighten our day, to make us smile. You could never imagine how little it takes… but first, it takes YOU… caring enough.

    I’m sorry for going on and on, but I am very passionate about this… from a firsthand point of view. And I just want to tell you, it’s really not all that hard to help. I hope you will find a way in which you can help someone you are or once were important to. Pick up the phone… make that call!

    Blessings and love to all of you who suffer… and blessings to all of you who spread light and love!


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