Ronnie Foster was already having a good day as he headed to his last chemotherapy treatment, but it was made even better with a winning lottery ticket.
While on his way to see his doctor, the North Carolina native took a chance and picked up a Win It All scratch-off ticket at the local Short Stop convenience store in Beulaville, N.C.
“I bought a $1 ticket and won $5,” he told NC Education Lottery. “I decided to trade it in for a $5 ticket. At the last second, I decided to buy two tickets instead of one.”
It turned out to be a decision that would change his life.
“I was already happy because it was my last round of chemo,” said Foster, who’s been battling colon cancer. “Winning this made it my lucky day.”
The first ticket, Foster explained, wasn’t a winner. But as he scratched off the second ticket, he noticed multiple zeroes lining up.
“I saw all the zeroes and I froze. I didn’t believe it until I gave it to the clerk at the counter to scan,” he said. “When it showed, ‘Go to lottery headquarters,’ I started shaking. I couldn’t believe it.”
The retired Department of Transportation worker picked up his US$200,000 prize — which came to $141,501 after taxes — at the lottery headquarters in Raleigh.
He plans to use some of his winnings to help pay his medical bills, while the rest will be saved for the future.
“I have good insurance, but there is still some cost,” he said. “This will make it a whole lot easier.”
Foster told CBS that he received his diagnosis back in January, got surgery in February and has been getting chemotherapy treatments since April.
He’s not sure if his big win is a sign and said it might have just been a case of being in the “right place at the right time.”
In September, another man battling cancer defied the odds, too.
After beating cancer not once, but twice, Oregon resident Stu MacDonald received the ultimate congratulatory gift: a winning lottery ticket valued at US$4.6 million.
“I’m a very lucky guy,” he told the Oregon Lottery. “I have survived cancer twice, and here I am. This is amazing.”
MacDonald and his wife, Claudia, bought lottery tickets weekly, and she never forgot to remind her husband to “get the winning ticket,” according to the organization’s press release.
The day MacDonald bought the winning ticket — Sept. 7 — was the first time she forgot the important reminder.
MacDonald went for a quick-pick ticket at Ashley’s Café in Bend, Ore. He went on to take home $1.56 million after taxes after opting for a bulk sum payment of $2.3 million.
The release says the café also received a one per cent selling bonus of $46,000.