Lottery Winners Give It All Away
updated 02/28/2011 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 02/28/2011 AT 01:00 AM EST
VIOLET LARGE, 78
Violet Large was cleaning up after dinner in her Nova Scotia home last July when she called the lottery hotline to check on the latest winning numbers. Stunned to realize that she held a ticket worth $11.2 million, she turned to her husband, Allen, and gasped, "What do we do now?"
The answer was more startling than the windfall itself: They gave it all away-"every penny," says Allen, a retired welder who has purchased two lottery tickets each week since 1983. "That was our intention from the start." Over a four-month period, the couple-who met at a dance in Toronto in 1964-divided the winnings between 14 family members and 63 Canadian-based organizations, ranging from the fire stations in their hometown of Truro (pop. 22,000) to the regional hospital that successfully treated Violet for ovarian cancer last year. "We're not used to that kind of money," says Violet, a former factory manager. "So we wanted to share it with people who treat us well."
So far the couple haven't spent a penny on themselves. Content with their '87 Dodge Diplomat sedan and their 148-year-old Victorian home, they plan to get by on their retirement savings. "Money can't buy happiness," says Violet, who still buys lotto tickets every week. "We have everything we need; I have Allen, and he has me."
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