Monday, 28 August 2017

Tales of Women Who Hit the Jackpot

 While winning the lottery is a pipe dream for many, there are a few women who did make a fortune playing the lottery and whose lives took interesting turns after their jackpot wins.


1.     Marie Holmes – Some people roll their eyes at lottery millionaires because they got rich from buying one ticket instead of years of toil and struggle. However, some people are unequivocally deserving of their lottery win. One such winner is Marie Holmes. In February 2015, Holmes split the historic $564 million Powerball jackpot with two other winners; her total pre-tax sum was $127 million. Holmes is a 26-year-old single mom of four from Shallotte, North Carolina who never had enough money for herself and had to quit her jobs to take care of her children, one of whom has cerebral palsy. When she won her millions, she was living in a trailer with her family and struggling financially. She met with a financial advisor and lawyer and plans to fund her children's education, purchase a home, travel, and donate to her church and organizations that support people with cerebral palsy and their families. Holmes has never traveled outside the US due to financial restrictions and mentioned Paris as a top choice. Here's hoping she and her family has a wonderful time in the City of Lights and that they're happy and healthy for years to come.

2.       Gillian Bayford – Gillian Bayford won the £148 million EuroMillions jackpot in August 2012 along with her husband, Adrian. They toasted to their win with National Lottery champagne glasses and were overjoyed at the new possibilities that were now available to them. When asked what she most wanted to buy, Gillian responded that her dream car, an Audi Q7, was at the top of the list. She ended up buying five Audis from a dealership in Dundee, Scotland. Then in November 2013, the couple split up and Gillian started dating Alan Warnock, a car salesman at the very Audi lot she purchased her beloved luxury cars. Adrian started dating soon after the divorce and in 2014 got engaged to Samantha Burbidge, a 27-year-old horse groomer. Gillian and Alan got engaged in January 2015 – from lottery tickets to cars, Gillian seems to have a knack for making life-changing purchases. Little had they known when they decided to try their luck with the EuroMillions lottery about the sudden turn their lives would take.

3.       Denise Rossi – Denise's lottery story is a cautionary tale. In December 1996, Rossi won $1.3 million in the California lottery. Eleven days after her win, she filed for divorce from her husband of 25 years, Thomas Rossi. The divorce was a total shock to him because he never saw anything wrong in his marriage; he was truly puzzled. The divorce was finalized and two years later in May 1998, a letter from Statewide Funding, addressed to his now ex-wife, was delivered to his address. The letter was for lottery winners who were getting paid in annual installments, which perked Thomas's curiosity. He contacted the California State Lottery Commission and they confirmed his suspicions – Denise was getting $66,800 yearly from her lottery win. The lottery checks were even delivered to Denise's mother to further hide the winner's identity. Thomas took Denise to court for these undisclosed assets. The judge was obviously disgusted by Denise's excuses and sided with Thomas, giving the entire $1.3 million sum to him, citing a California law about disclosing property assets during divorce proceedings. If she had disclosed her lottery win prior to divorcing, she would have only forfeited half her jackpot. Lying never pays.

4.       Callie Rogers – Another lottery winner not to copy is Callie Rodgers. She became the UK's youngest lottery winner at the age of 16 in July 2003. Obviously a child having tons of cash on hand is worrisome and usually leads to trouble without proper legal and financial supervision, which unfortunately was the case with Callie. She immediately quit her job as a supermarket cashier and spent almost all of her £1.9 million prize on partying, drugs, vacations, and plastic surgery. She spiraled into severe depression and tried to commit suicide three times. Over a decade after her win, the money is all gone but she's much happier now that she is focusing on her children and working toward her goal of becoming a nurse.

5.       Gloria C. Mackenzie – No list about female lottery winners is complete without mentioning Gloria Mackenzie. The 84-year-old from Florida won the $590 million Powerball jackpot, becoming the largest sole winner in lottery history. What makes Gloria's story remarkable is that one act of kindness changed her life. While in line at a Publix, a local grocery store, Mindy Crandell and her daughter let her cut in front of them and purchase a quick pick ticket before them. If Mindy had not wanted to teach her daughter about politeness, she could be the lucky winner. However, she says that she doesn't regret a thing and teaching about politeness and kindness is much more valuable – way to go mom! 

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