Cancer patient wins $2b Powerball jackpot

Cancer patient wins $2b Powerball jackpot
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The winner of the historic $2 billion Powerball jackpot has been revealed as an immigrant who is battling cancer.

Cheng “Charlie” Saephan, 46, of Portland, who has had cancer for eight years, said he and his wife, Duanpen Saephan, 37, would split the prize evenly with a friend who contributed US$100 ($150) to buy some tickets with them, the New York Postreports

They are taking a lump-sum payment — US$422 million ($645 million) after taxes.

“I am grateful for the lottery and how I have been blessed,” he said at a news conference on Monday held by the Oregon Lottery, adding that his “life has been changed.”

“I will be able to provide for my family and my … I’ll find a good doctor for myself.”

He said that as a cancer patient, he wondered, “How am I going to have time to spend all of this money? How long will I live?”

After they bought the tickets with Laiza Chao, 55, of Milwaukie, Chao sent a photo of them to Saephan and said, “We’re billionaires.”

A Powerball player with cancer has won $2 billion. Picture: Supplied Picture: Supplied

It was a joke before the actual drawing, he said, but the next day it came true. According to Saephan, he called Chao to tell her the life-changing news about her. After discovering he was holding the winning ticket, he called her to share the news about her.

“I said, ‘Laiza, where are you?’ and she said, ‘I’m going to work,’” said Saephan. “I replied, ‘You don’t have to go anymore.’”

According to KOIN, Saephan also told reporters he plans to first purchase a home for his family in Oregon. He also said he will likely continue to play the lottery after his winnings.

“I might get lucky again,” he said. “I’ll keep playing.”

The single ticket, which matched all six numbers drawn to win the jackpot, was sold off at a Plaid Pantry convenience store in a Portland neighborhood in early April, ending a winless streak that had stretched more than three months.

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“This is an unprecedented jackpot win for Oregon Lottery,” Oregon Lottery Director Mike Wells said in a statement before security measures were taken and the winner was named.

“We’re taking every precaution to verify the winner before awarding the prize money.”

Until the latest drawing, no one had won Powerball’s top prize since New Year’s Day, amounting to 41 consecutive drawings without a jackpot winner — tying a streak set twice before in 2022 and 2021.

The Powerball jackpot swelled to $3 billion. NCA NewsWire

The draw, too, was marred by a delay of more than three hours after a lottery participant needed “additional time to complete required pre-draw procedures.”

“Powerball game rules require that every single ticket sold nationwide be checked and verified against two different computer systems before the winning numbers are drawn,” Powerball officials said at the time.

“This is done to ensure that every ticket sold for the Powerball drawing has been accounted for and has an equal chance to win. Tonight, we have one jurisdiction that needs extra time to complete that pre-draw process.”

The jackpot has a cash value of US$621 million ($950 million) before taxes if the winner chooses to take a lump sum rather than an annuity paid over 30 years, with an immediate payout followed by 29 annual installations. The prize is subject to federal taxes and state taxes in Oregon.

The prize is the fourth largest Powerball jackpot in history, and the eighth largest among US jackpot games, according to the Oregon Lottery.

The biggest US lottery jackpot won was US$2.04 ($2 billion) billion in California in 2022.

The winning numbers drawn were: 22, 27, 44, 52, 69 and the red Powerball 9.

Under Oregon law, with few exceptions, lottery players cannot remain anonymous. Winners have a year to claim the top prize.

This story originally appeared in the New York Post and has been reproduced with permission

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