10 Lottery Winners Who Gave it Away – Part 1
Big lottery winners are extremely rare creatures. So rare in fact, that you’d probably have more chance of meeting a three-legged ballerina at your local supermarket. Rarer still are the lucky lottery winners who decide to give all of their money away. But unlike Santa Claus, these magnificent human beings actually do exist. To prove it, we’ve compiled a list of ten individuals who took the outlandish decision to put other people before themselves.
Tom Crist, Canada – $40 million
Tom Crist won $40 million on the Calgary lottery in 2013, which was the biggest jackpot in that city’s history. At the time of his win, Crist pledged to give all the money away and he was as good as his word. Instead of embarking on a lavish spending spree, the generous Canadian immediately set about donating his millions to cancer charities in honour of his late wife Jan who had succumbed to the disease. Unlike many philanthropists, Crist went out of his way to keep the donations to himself – an unusual philanthropist if ever there was one.
Allen and Violet Large, Canada – $11.2 million
Like many big-time lottery winners, Allen and Violet Large discovered that being mind-blowingly rich wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. They won a jackpot of $11.2 million but found that such a large amount of cash was by their own words, giving them a ‘headache’. So to relieve their cranial discomfort, the couple decided to give all of their winnings to friends, charities and hospitals. Problem solved.
Sheelah Ryan, US – $55.2 million
Sheelah Ryan, a part-time real estate worker, landed a massive jackpot back in 1988 and chose to establish her own charitable organisation, the Ryan Foundation. It’s still in operation to this day and donates to a multitude of good causes relating to the welfare of poor children and, uh, stray cats. The foundation also builds low-cost housing and even covers the unpaid rent of single mothers to protect them from eviction.
Roy Cockrum, US – $259 million
Knoxville resident, Roy Cockrum, claimed the largest prize in Tennessee state history in 2009. He had returned to his home town after an absence of thirty years to look after his aging parents. However, on his way to a medical appointment, Cockrum realised that he’d won the jackpot. But instead of spending the money on himself, homeless children, the infirm, poor people or wayward felines, he resolved to donate the majority of his winnings to the arts. The Knoxville Dinner Theatre was very grateful by all accounts.
Margaret Loughrey, Northern Ireland – £13.5 million
Margaret Loughrey decided to spend £12.5 million of her lottery winnings on her hometown of Strabane in the hope of turning it into an international mecca for tourism (I know, I know). To this end, she set up six investment firms to buy up local sites, of which one was a derelict linen mill. Sadly, Ms Loughrey was soon sectioned, although this was in no way related to her ambitions for Strabane…apparently. After a stint at her local hospital, in which most of her activities revolved around a tin cup and crayons, she was released to an unsuspecting public. Disputes with local and an assault on a local taxi driver then followed. However, very little has been heard since, of either Loughrey or Strabane.