Richard Silvey had never hit the jackpot with lottery tickets. Hed play Powerball and Missouri Lottery each week, occasionally winning a few dollars.
And luck didnt abound when his defibrillator, which applies a brief electric shock to the heart to maintain a normal heartbeat, stopped working properly. Hed received the defibrillator in 1999 to correct his ventricular tachycardia, or rapid heart beat, but he started fainting from the failing defibrillator in November.
So he checked into St. Lukes Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City on Nov. 29.
He needed a heart transplant, and his wife, April Silvey, thought it might take a year to receive one.
They werent going to let him go home until he got a heart, April Silvey said.
Despite Mr. Silveys bad luck, Terry and Diane Silvey, his brother and sister-in-law, surprised him with 16 possibly lucky presents Dec. 10. Diane Silvey placed a lottery ticket and a piece of chocolate in leftover jewelry boxes and wrote a date on each box.
That way he could pass the time, and wed let him know we were thinking of him every day, Diane Silvey said.
He scratched ticket number one: nothing. Please try again.
Ticket two: nothing.
Tickets three through 12: Nope.
I said, You must have bought those tickets on a discount because none of them were winners, Mr. Silvey said.
If any of the tickets yielded money, said Rose Fulson, a housekeeper who cleaned Mr. Silveys room, a heart transplant would follow soon.
Mr. Silvey said he hoped so, but he figured she was just trying to be nice.
I dont know, Ms. Fulson said. I just felt that that would give him something to look forward to. Wed pray every day that he would get a heart.
The day: Dec. 22. The time: 10:15 a.m. The ticket: Number 13.
The amount won: $6.
I thought, Ooh, look here. I won $6, Mr. Silvey said. I was very surprised. I could hardly say anything.
Sure enough, minutes later, a nurse told Mr. Silvey that he could receive a heart transplant that day.
You told me Id get my heart when I won the lottery, Mr. Silvey told Ms. Fulson with a hug.
The nursing staff called April Silvey at about 10:45 a.m. at work. She rushed down Interstate 29 to St. Lukes. Stepping off the elevator, Ms. Fulson approached April Silvey, saying, Youd better get down there and see him.
I dont know how she recognized me, April Silvey said. The first thing I thought was, Well, this womans got to have a very special gift.
Thats not it, Ms. Fulson said.
Its just God looking at us. Its just time. God does everything. It was fate, luck and God looking out, she said.
When April Silvey looked at the winning ticket, she noticed the winning numbers matched the date Mr. Silvey won his heart.
Im the one that thought about the numbers on it, and the day he had the transplant the ticket had a two on it, but it had a triple, April Silvey said. A triple two, to me, was two, two, two. And I got to thinking, he had his heart transplant on a 12/22, which was odd, all those twos in there.
Still, as coincidental as the lottery tickets numbers and surgery date may seem, and as right as Ms. Fulsons prediction turned out, Richard and April Silvey say they believe God really controlled everything.
Diane Silvey agrees, thankful that Mr. Silvey received a transplant. St. Lukes nursing staff told her about one man who had waited two years at the hospital for one.
We all very much believe in God and are Christians, and it was just meant to be I guess, she said.
Mr. Silvey went home from the hospital Jan. 10, and he said he feels tired.
But hes finally hit the jackpot, though hell never cash in the ticket. April Silvey plans to place it in a picture frame, as a reminder of his fortune.
Best ticket I ever got & Mr. Silvey said.