Includes video report
ST. LOUIS — The nationwide buzz over the recent $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot was a temporary high, but the excitement at Mercy Children's Hospital in St. Louis, MO, continued weeks after the drawing.
A lottery pool of 126 nurses working at the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) had hoped to win it all — and while they didn't get the jackpot, they did have some luck.
"We never thought in a million years we would win anything at all, and then we came one number away from winning $1.6 billion," said NICU nurse Stephanie Brinkman, who organized the pool.
One of their tickets was worth $10,000, which is around $7,200 after taxes.
Split up between 126 nurses, they would get around $56 each.
But rather than everyone getting a little, they decided to give two deserving colleagues a lot.
"The majority immediately said, 'Let's give it to our co-workers, our family, the ones that are in biggest need,' so that's what we decided to do," Brinkman said.
Brinkman presented one of two checks to nurse Gretchen Post, saying, "I know it's not the $1.6 billion, but here is what we have to offer you, and hopefully it will help."
Post is a grieving mother, mourning the recent loss of her son, 17-year-old Jack, who committed suicide on Oct. 23 — the night of the record Mega Millions drawing. He was the youngest of Post's three children.
"It actually will help with Jack's funeral, which I'm very grateful for," Post said.
Brinkman and the other nurses gave the second check to neonatologist Casey Orellana, whose husband Phil was diagnosed with sarcoma earlier this year.
He hasn't been able to work since July, which was around the same time that he discovered the cancer had spread to his lungs.
The couple has four children. To take care of her family, Casey Orellana had to cut her hours at the hospital in half.
She said the money from the lottery pool came at just the right time.
"When I got that phone call, it was a day when I was wondering how we were going to pay for certain medications," she said.
NICU nurses are there the moment families grow bigger, but they're also their own family, which through this experience has grown closer.
"Knowing that I'm not the only one fighting this battle, that there are people there to support me, certainly makes it easier for me," Phil Orellana said.
VIDEO: Watch the report
Way to go!
Nurses are Angels in uniform.
Extended Family Helping Extended Family!
Nurses are educated that way. It’s their way of defining respect. One of the true professions where thinking in that way is a must. Very nice. Way to go Nurses!
couldn't have put it better
WOW, a very thoughtful and caring wake up post. Thank You.
Nice! That is one massive pool. Makes one wonder, if that pool comprised of 10 players, would the 8 have taken similar steps for their colleagues?
*Just asking, please no hate responses. Thanks in advance.
Wow....for these nurses to come up with this idea so quickly and help these 2 deserving co-workers,is an excellent example not only for the community but for their own children.It tells them to pay attention to what's going on in your community and if you are in a position to help-don't delay. Sure it may not have been millions of dollars, But for someone who is struggling it is so important to let them know that they are not alone. To the person who came up with this idea and to all who participated i want you to know this.......what you did will inspire others to do similar deeds across the the country,so you did not just help those two, but who knows how many others.When you lay your heads down at night during this holiday season......you have thousands of people who will here about this and they will believe as my grandfather did......that nurses are angels in uniforms!Happy Holidays to you all.
That is so wonderful! I have a good friend who is a Neonatal ICU nurse at Emery Hospital in Atlanta, and that would be something she and her fellow nurses would do. Even after working long shifts, sometimes 24 hours straight, they volunteer at homeless shelters, animal shelters, schools and such. Nurses are amazingly giving people!
What a wonderful thing to do. May God bless you all ladies. Job well done.
When I read this article , it didn't surprise me, why because
nurses in this area , volunteers to help others !!!
I am PROUD of my Daughter in law , who's a Mercy "RN in St.Louis .
Who's a cares for her patients , friends and family !!!
We come from a family who's all in the medical field to help people .
That was so nice of them
'24 hours straight' is illegal. Now Physicians, especially Residents follow 'recommended' hours, but not set in stone. Where I retired from, a PICU, we worked 12 hours and KY allows you to work four more hours if mandated. (I had FMLA forbidding this).
Regardless of that, it is true that we take care of our own and applaud their gifts to needy co-workers.
Wonderful. This makes me proud to be a Nurse
My roommate from freshman year of college is a nicu nurse. Great person and still a great friend years later.