Inspirational Lottery Winners

You’ve likely come across multiple stories of “cursed” lottery winners who went on to lose all their winnings in one way or another.

Some, like Janite Lee, who won an $18 million jackpot in 1993, filed for bankruptcy within a few years. Other, such as William Post “Bud,” meanwhile, went into debt within months of winning millions.

It sends the distasteful message that winning the lottery might not be a good thing after all; that perhaps winning the jackpot is a curse.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

The following are a few success stories that will completely change your mind and perhaps even inspire you to play Mega Millions here;

1. Jawdat Ibrahim opens a restaurant that later hosts peace talks

Mr. Ibrahim, a truck driver, won a $17.5 million lottery in Illinois in 1990. Initially, there were challenges collecting the windfall. The city wanted to deny him the winnings for citizenship issues. But, he sued and, as expected, won the case. In return, the court awarded him even more millions.

So, what did he do with the money? He went back to his home country in Jerusalem where he opened a restaurant which he later used to host informal peace talks between the Israeli and Palestinians. The locals and the Israeli government are grateful for the act to date.

2. Les Scadding buys his beloved club, gets the team promoted

Les Scadding loved his hometown club Newport County AFC so much he was willing to do anything to help. And, that’s precisely what he did when he won a $51 million EuroMillion jackpot in 2009. He bought just enough shares in the club to become majority shareholder. Then, he installed himself as Newport FC Chairman before going on a spending spree to turn the club’s fortunes around.

By 2012, Newport had won promotion to the Football League, for the first time in 25 years. With that done, he served for three more years then relinquished the chairmanship position.

3. Gil Cisneros finds his way to congress to champion veteran rights

Born in California, Gil Cisneros was a Navy Lt Commander who loved his job a lot. But, even the good ones are hard done sometimes. In 2010, he was fired from the job. Little did he know that lady luck was waiting! Just two weeks after being fired, Cisneros won a lottery worth $266 million.

What he did with the money is a story that will be told for a long time. He vied as a Democrat, in the strongly-Republican-leaning Orange County, won in 2018, and upon going to the senate, passed a bill to help fellow veterans adjust to civilian life.

4. Sheelah Ryan creates the Ryan Foundation to help less fortunate

Sheelah Ryan won a $55.2 million jackpot in 1988, at that time the biggest solo win. With so much money, she could have flown anywhere and lived like a queen. But, she did something even more amazing – she started a foundation to cater to the less fortunate in society – the Ryan Foundation.

For years, the foundation gave grants to organizations that built low-cost housing, aided senior citizens in homes within Seminole Country, Florida, and helped children get essential operations. Ray died of cancer only six years after winning the lottery, but her legacy remains to date.

5. Tom Crist donates entire windfall to cancer research

Finally, an even more touching story is that of Tom Crist. Before he won the lottery, Tom had just lost his wife to – you guessed right – cancer. He was devastated but had to live with the pain, knowing he couldn’t do anything about it. Cancer has no known cure, after all.

But, two years later, things changed. He won a $40 million jackpot. So, he was going to try something – he decided to help in the search for a cure for cancer, so other people didn’t have to go through the pain his wife underwent. He donated the entire $40 million to a Calgary cancer charity.

Other Stories

There are many other similar, and even more moving, stories out there of lottery winners doing incredible things for the society. Hopefully, these five changed your mind about buying that ticket.


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