An open letter to “Our Town Without Pity”
Prior a devastating stroke rendering my sister Marilyn unable to use her left side and with little vision in her left eye, she was a true friend to many of you, a loyal customer to your local businesses, and she supported your annual donation drives.
For four years Marilyn has struggled daily in an uphill battle to remain as independent as one can in a wheelchair in a body that seemed to ignore her pain medications and in one that recognized only her right side.
Since August, almost three months ago, she has dealt with a downhill hope and spirit. Having the good fortune to rub out a winning instant Lifetime Riches game that produced one big LIFE with $5,000 a week for life underneath, was it true!!! Her pain was paramount and the ticket was not secured.
When sometime later, realizing the ticket was AWOL after frantic searches, the wastebasket next to the bed seemed logical always wrapped and discarded separately. We called the Director of Public Works and the Superintendent of Sanitation, and after a thorough investigation, they assured me neither the boys nor the driver found anything. The police ignored us.
The ticket was taken out of the NJ State's computers as a winner, and eveyone wondered where was the payout.
Accidentally, I learned a large winning ticket was claimed in August at a local pharmacy which did not sell that game. I called NJLottery with details of Sis’s ticket, and a ticket batch audit produced a winner matching all details. However, the validation site and the claimant changed. It was a winner, then before our purchase, then after our purchase, finally to the ticket never existed. Even another name was superimposed over the scratched out original name. The total number of tickets printed, sold and still remaining for sale on that game did not add up per Public Records figures from NJL.
Supposedly this non-existent ticket has recently been straddled with some County officials’ names, that local pharmacy, a restaurant, our annual donation recipients and even a neighbor or two with whom I spoke about the ticket and some other people known or unknown to us. There seemed to be deep pockets from our home via the circuitous route of Colonia and County and straight to the NJLottery to the Treasury Department, metamorphosing en route. It was a bad ticket and covered up.
Some reading this may have joined in a deceptive claim that was not a prepaid group effort, only group greed. Some may know what happened and are unwilling or afraid to buck those who claimed it. And, some had the principles to pass. Or, it is a first time awareness.
Perhaps someone or two will have the courage to come forward to give my sister back her life and her prize to help her as a handicapped woman challenged in a non-handicapped world.
Life is not written in stone, and paralysis is not selective. Finders, keepers; losers, weepers! You left my sister sitting in the rain.
LMM and MAY
Colonia, October 27, 2006