Laos-born immigrant battling cancer wins $1.3 billion lottery jackpot

Laos-born immigrant battling cancer wins $1.3 billion lottery jackpotLaos-born immigrant battling cancer wins $1.3 billion lottery jackpot
via KGW
An immigrant from Laos who has been battling cancer for nearly a decade won the historic Powerball jackpot this month.
Key points:
  • Cheng “Charlie” Saephan, 46; his wife Duanpen, 37; and their friend Laiza Chao, 55, from Oregon were announced as the winners of the historic $1.3 billion Powerball by the Oregon Lottery in a press conference on Monday.
  • The winning ticket was sold at a Plaid Pantry convenience store in Portland, Oregon, for the April 7 draw, ending the three-month winless streak. The winning numbers were 22, 27, 44, 52 and 69, with the red Powerball of 9.
  • The $1.3 billion Powerball jackpot was reportedly the fourth largest in Powerball history and the eighth largest in jackpot games in the United States.
The details:
  • Saephan and his wife will evenly split the lump sum payment of $422 million after taxes with Chao, who contributed $100 to the pool so they could buy $200 worth of tickets.
  • Their identities were only revealed after they came forward on April 8 and underwent a vetting process. Under Oregon Lottery rules, winners are not allowed to remain anonymous, and their names, prize amount, draw date and games played are logged in public records.
  • Saephan, who has been battling cancer for eight years, had his latest chemotherapy treatment last week. During the press conference, he noted, “I will be able to provide for my family and my health… I’ll find a good doctor for myself.”
  • “How am I going to have time to spend all of this money? How long will I live?” Saephan, who has two children, wondered at the press conference.
  • He immigrated to the United States in 1994 and used to work as a machinist for an aerospace company. Saephan is a member of the Southeast Asian ethnic group lu Mien, which has roots in southern China.
  • Saephan told reporters that he would first use the money to buy a home for his family and plans to continue playing, noting, “I might get lucky again.”
What they’re saying:
  • Plaid Pantry President and CEO Jonathan Polonsky said in a statement that they were overjoyed by the news, noting, “This store is one of our newest and most loved stores. Proceeds from the Oregon Lottery fund many programs that benefit everyone in the state, and we’ve been a proud partner with the Oregon Lottery since the very beginning.”
  • Similarly, Melanie Mesaros, spokesperson for the Oregon Lottery, told ABC News the jackpot was exciting for them as “This is our first winner on this scale.”
  • Oregon Lottery Director Mike Wells described the jackpot in an April 8 press release as an “unprecedented jackpot win for Oregon Lottery.”
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