Teen who emptied piggy bank as a child for earthquake victims wins $47.5m lottery
An 18-year-old who emptied her piggy bank as a child to donate to earthquake victims has won the C$48 million (S47.5m) grand prize in a Canadian lottery.
At age 5, Ms Juliette Lamour emptied her piggy bank to donate C$37 (S$36.60) to the Haiti earthquake through the Canadian Red Cross.
Thirteen years later, Ms Lamour had just turned 18 when she bought her first lottery ticket at her grandfather’s suggestion.
“He said to me: ‘You just turned 18, go buy a Lotto ticket, test your luck,’” Ms Lamour said earlier in February, when discussing her win at a media event announcing the news. “So, I did.”
Not knowing which ticket to buy, the Ontario resident asked her father for advice, to which he suggested for her to buy the Lotto 6/49 QuickPick – where numbers were randomly selected on her behalf.
“I still can’t believe I hit the Gold Ball jackpot on my very first lottery ticket!” she said.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation confirmed that, while there have been other 18-year-old winners, no one had ever won as much as Ms Lamour.
She added she had forgotten that she had even bought the ticket, but checked the lottery app after her colleagues told her that the winning numbers were bought by someone in Sault Ste Marie, where she had bought her ticket.
A jingle started to play and “Big Winner” flashed on the screen when she checked her ticket on the app.
“My colleague fell to his knees in disbelief,” Ms Lamour said. “He was yelling. In fact, everyone was yelling that I won C$48 million.”
Her boss told her she could leave early, but her mother insisted she stay and finish her shift.
The first-year medical student intends to invest most of her winnings with the help of her father – a financial adviser – and she is keen to travel when she finishes her studies.
Beyond that, Ms Lamour wants to practise medicine in northern Ontario and give back to her community.
“Money doesn’t define you. It’s the work you do that will define you,” she said.
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