Winning a lottery jackpot can alter the way you live the rest of your life in a very good way. Imagine you buy your lottery tickets online or from your local shop week after week, month after month, year after year then one day, the tumbling lotto balls finally match your numbers.
Can you even begin to contemplate the thoughts that would be going through your mind: from doubt, did we really win? Are we the only winners or is it a fluke and many other people won as well? No, we’re the only winners; we take home the whole jackpot!
How many nights sleep would you lose in all the excitement of becoming a multi-millionaire overnight? What’s the first thing you should do with the money? What a lot of wonderful decisions to have to deal with.
Below are a few lottery prize winners and their stories:
Tough times on the ranch
Back in 2009, 23-year-old cowboy Neal Wanless was rather down on his luck. He was struggling to pay his property taxes and struggling to keep the ranch in good repair. He sold some scrap metal to make some extra money so he could keep going. He was just about the poorest rancher in Todd County, South Dakota.
One day he drove into his local town called Winner (appropriate name if ever there was one), to pick up some animal feed for the ranch. While in town, he decided to spend $5 on the Powerball lottery and used the birthdates of his family members to select his numbers. To Neal’s amazement, his numbers matched and he won one of the biggest Powerball jackpots in history at that time. He took the lump sum option and after taxes, he took home $88.5 million dollars.
Neal decided to keep on working his ranch even with such a huge win in his bank. He also put some money into the local community to help others that were struggling like he was. The local mayor Timothy Grablander said, “That's just the way it is in this part of the state, people help people and we all know one another”.
After Cynthia Stafford’s brother was killed by a drunk driver, she became a single mother and took in and raised his children and at the same time was supporting her father financially.
After New Year in 2007, there wasn’t much money to go around. She was living in a small house with her large family and struggled to pay her bills. She dreamed of winning the lottery jackpot to help solve her financial problems. Back in 2004, the number $112 million kept entering Cynthia’s head so she decided to concentrate hard and focus her mind to win that amount of money.
She used various ways to attract good luck which included sleeping with the number $112 million written on a piece of paper under her pillow. She also meditated again concentrating on winning a $112 million lottery jackpot including visualising her feelings after winning. Three years later, Cynthia Stafford, dreamer extraordinaire, won $112 million dollars on the Powerball lottery, the exact same amount she always dreamed of winning.
She gives credit to prayer and the laws of attraction for her prize win. Finally, she could solve her family’s money problems. To us, it just seemed to be sheer determination and positivity that eventually produced her jackpot win. Cynthia then started a film company which was always her aim to do one day and now she is living her dream.
The way she ended up winning was because she only bought tickets once or twice a month and used whichever numbers she thought of at that moment in time. She still plays the lottery every week now and would like to be one of the very few special winners that have won more than one lottery jackpot.
The Kuteys make a splash
After Linda and John Kutey won their share of the office lottery pool, which was part of Mega Millions’ biggest ever lottery jackpots. After taxes, their share was a cool $19 million and they decided to pay respects to their parents by contributing something to their local community.
They asked the community how they could help and the answer was maybe they could help to renovate the local park and replace the old wading pool with a more modern spray park which would provide the local kids with a fun place to cool off in summer. They donated all the new equipment that was required including the complete installation.
They also were both able to improve their own lives with their lottery winnings. John was able to leave his job and he and Linda then moved to a fabulous new house in Florida.
Lotto winning family start their own Foundation
Mother of seven children, Pearlie Mae Smith stressed to the children she raised the importance of giving back to the community. Her kids grew up volunteering to work in community gardens and soup kitchens.
They also played the Powerball lottery on a regular basis and eventually won the $429 million Powerball jackpot. They decided they wanted to use part of their cash prize to help members of the community who weren’t as lucky as they were.
Although they split the winnings evenly amongst the eight members of the family, not all of them quit working for a living. One of the daughters continued her work mentoring other women and now could also help fund the program herself.
The family also created the ‘Smith Family Foundation’ which provided funding for various organisations that were working to improve people’s lives in Trenton, New Jersey, their home town. Their foundation includes neighbourhood development, supporting families and youth in the Trenton area plus education.
Lottery winning teacher creates outdoor camp for kids
High school teacher Les Robins felt it was a bit sad that the kids of today don’t get to enjoy the sort of activities he had when he was a youngster such as exploring the great outdoors, various sports, swimming and going to camp and suchlike.
After winning a huge $111 million dollar jackpot on the Powerball lottery, Les thought it would be a great idea for him to create his own camp to allow kids to have a lot of fun. So he founded ‘Camp Winnegator’ on the 226 acres of land he purchased with money from his lottery winnings.
It allowed kids to have a low-cost fun place to go in summer where they ride horses, swim, and craft plus have fun on the lake. It also allowed the kids to get away from their cell phones, video games and get in touch with nature first hand.
Cancer suffering lottery winner gives away her money
After Sheelah Ryan won a fabulous $52 million dollars on the Florida State Lottery, the biggest individual win at the time, she spent her last few years giving her winnings away. Some say she won for a special reason as it allowed her to help others.
She helped various organisations through her charitable group ‘The Ryan Foundation’ to provide aid for the underprivileged. Sheelah only lived for six years after winning the lottery before dying of cancer. Her Ryan Foundation thereafter continued by building low-cost housing, helping kids that were in need of unaffordable operations and gave aid to senior citizens in and around Seminole County, Florida.
Lottery jackpot winners fight disease
In 2008, Sue and Paul Rosenau won the Powerball $181 million dollar jackpot and immediately knew where they would spend part of their winnings. They bought their winning lottery ticket exactly five years after their granddaughter Makayla died of an incurable and rare disease called Krabbe Disease.
This terrible disease affects about one in 100,000 newborn babies and does not get the kind of funding that more common diseases do. It’s a dreadful degenerative disease that attacks nerve linings and death occurs within two years.
The Rosenaus founded a group called ‘The Legacy of Angels’ to make people more aware of this awful disease’s existence and to help fund research in the hope of finding a cure. Paul and Sue both serve on the foundation’s board of directors and hope to stop other families suffering the same pain they themselves experienced after losing Makayla five years earlier.
If you were lucky enough to win any of this week’s life-changing international lottery jackpots, what would you do with your prize? Let us know in the comments section below.