Prior to her big win, Wanczyk worked as a member of the clerical staff at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield. She’d been in the role for 32 years when her numbers came up, meaning that the lottery has helped to provide her with what one can only assume is a well-earned break.
So how did this clerical worker transform herself into a woman with a higher net worth than the GDP of Pacific Island nation Palau? Wanczyk bought five Powerball tickets in total; two were computer-generated tickets, and she then chose three for herself. The winning ticket was one where she selected family birthdays as the numbers; Wanczyk has two adult children, a daughter and a son.
For her final selection, she turned to an old tradition of playing the number four while playing Keno with close family members every Friday. This decision, combined with birthdays of her nearest and dearest, was enough to make her the single most fortunate lottery winner of all time.
Of course, Wanczyk’s overall winnings will be taxed, taking the total amount she is set to receive to $336m. Unlike many winners, she chose to receive her winnings as a lump-sum payout. Lottery winners who choose gradual payouts tend to receive more over the course of a number of decades, but it seems Wanczyk was more than satisfied with an overnight wealth of over $300m and felt no need to top it up.
It seems Wanczyk’s win came at a time when she needed it most. During the summer of this year, she shared a note with her Facebook friends, stipulating her need for a vacation. “And by ‘vacation,”’ she continued, “I mean I need to move away and find a new job. On a beach. With rum.” No doubt a few beach holidays will be playing a part in her future now that she is a multi-millionaire.
It’s worth noting that the US lotteries have offered a bigger prize than $758m before. The largest ever prize was won, by three people, in January of 2016; the winners divided $1.6 billion between them, meaning they each walked away with a handy $533.3million. However, this was a shared win, assuring Wanczyk a place in the record books as the most fortunate single-ticket winner in the history of US lottery draws.
The announcement of Wanczyk’s win came amidst much confusion, as the lottery misidentified the town where the winning ticket had been sold-- naming Watertown, just outside of Boston, as the home of the lucky winner. Eventually, the lottery corrected to the true location, Chicopee, and Wanczyk later came forward to claim her prize.
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