The biggest lottery winners can be classified in a number of ways – young vs old, poor, already rich, people playing for fun, people who won the first time they played and people who have been doing it for years. What happens when lottery winners are classified on the basis of gender? Are girls or guys luckier?
Some of the biggest lottery winners have been women and their stories are nothing but captivating. Here are a few of them.
The Luckiest Single Mom
Here’s an inspirational story about a single mom whose luck enabled her to turn her life around and end years of abuse. Her name is Holly Lahti and in January 2011, she won the 380-million Mega Millions jackpot in the US.
Lahti had worked as a bank customer representative prior to winning the jackpot. After getting the highest Mega Millions prize, however, she went into hiding. Reporters later found out that she had a good reason – Lahti was trying to escape from her estranged and abusive husband.
She was 29 when she won and went into hiding. Her husband, Joshua, made a number of public appearances and demanded a share of Lahti’s winnings due to the fact that they hadn’t been divorced yet.
In 2013, Lahti gave her first public interview after going missing. She reported that she’d gotten real estate offers and even marriage proposals after becoming a rich woman. She decided to escape in an attempt to protect her child and build a normal life for the two of them. Meanwhile, she got divorced from husband Joshua, but the settlement prevented her from discussing whether he’d gotten a share of the jackpot.
A Powerful Family Number
In 2013, Ira Curry from Georgia became one of the two lucky people who split a 648-million dollar Mega Millions jackpot amongst themselves. She reported that the lucky numbers were a combination of family birth dates.
Ira was 56 at the time she won a massive amount. This is the second biggest jackpot in the history of Mega Millions and after taxes and the split, each winner became 120-million dollars richer.
According to Ira, the ticket buying decision was a last minute one. Later on, after hearing that the Mega Millions number was 7 (a number that she had chosen), she made her daughter check the winning digits online. It turned out that Ira had gotten all of the numbers for the respective drawing correct.
A final curious fact about the lady working in insurance is that she had previously filed for bankruptcy. According to a 1994 public record, Ira and her husband requested Chapter 13 bankruptcy in an attempt to pay off debt.
Paying It Forward
It’s a bit more difficult to find information about the biggest EuroMillions winners because many of them decide to remain anonymous. Luckily, store supervisor Cassey Carrington from Iceland decided to step forward and reveal her identity after winning 45.16 million pounds in 2013.
At the time of winning, Cassey was only 23. After scooping the jackpot, she got married to boyfriend Matt. The couple had their first child soon after and they also invested 250,000 pounds from the prize in the purchase of a new home.
This wasn’t the only thing that Cassey and Matt did with the prize, however. They said that a large chunk of the money (1.3 million pounds) was handed over to a close family friend. The three people knew each other since childhood and after becoming rich, Cassey and Matt decided to help their friend who was struggling with mortgage payments and helping out his brother.
It’s Never Too Late
The story of Gloria MacKenzie shows that it’s never too late to enter the list of the biggest lottery winners.
MacKenzie scooped the biggest lottery prize in the history of US games at that time. In 2013, she became the winner of a 590-million-dollar jackpot. The lady from Florida quickly became the favorite target of reporters and paparazzi who wanted to find out what she was going to do with the money. Gloria surprised everyone by immediately making a donation worth two million dollars.
The money was donated to a local school and it was to be used for much-needed repairs.
Even after becoming a millionaire, Gloria MacKenzie did not change her life significantly. She’s been spotted several times shopping at Walmart and keeping it simple. Often, she’s spotted going out for lunches in modest local restaurants with family members Way to keep it graceful, Gloria!
Ireland’s Richest Lady
The biggest EuroMillions Irish winner is called Dolores McNamara and she made the headlines by scooping the massive 115 million euro back in 2005.
Once again, the money went to a person having a modest income. Prior to joining the ranks of the biggest lottery winners, Dolores worked as a cleaning lady. Not being a firm believer in lotteries, she had to practically be goaded into making a ticket purchase.
While EuroMillions winners are given an option to maintain their anonymity, Dolores decided to announce her name to the press. This decision quickly made the former cleaning lady a celebrity. Reports about her massive prize were published in newspapers and websites across Europe.
Determined to put her life together, Dolores began investing in real estate after splurging on a huge mansion for herself. Regardless of the massive investments, she has also managed to keep a low profile.
Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worst in 2017. In mid-January, US authorities seized 40 residential properties owned by the McNamara family due to a property tax payment failure. The family had made a decision to enter the risky Detroit property market after getting an investment recommendation. Because of this decision, the family is said to have suffered massive losses.
The Rainbow Sherbet Trust
Our final big lottery winner is Louise White, who won the February 2012 Powerball jackpot of 336.4 million dollars.
White was 81 at the time she became a millionaire. According to her own report, she kept the winning ticket in a Bible that she placed underneath her pillow every night. This continued until Louise managed to put the invaluable piece of paper in a safety deposit box at a local bank.
The lady took a couple of smart decisions immediately after her name was announced. She immediately hired attorneys to help her handle the publicity and make the most of the Powerball jackpot. By accepting the lump sum rather than the annuity payments, White became 210-million dollars richer.
White learned that she has become a winner while spending time with her family and drinking a rainbow sherbet. Because of this fact, she set up a trust fund called the Rainbow Sherbet Trust. The aim of the trust is to benefit all of the family members and ensure their financial stability.