Life-changing win comes as a comfort in difficult times
By Kate Northrop
After a Pennsylvania woman suffered the tragic loss of her husband, her life took another unexpected turn when she won $1 million from a scratch-off lottery ticket.
Charity Stivason's husband, Travis, suddenly passed away from a brain aneurysm on October 29 at only 47 years old. Her big lottery win a few months later would not replace her loss, but did provide some rare comfort to her life.
Stivason of Leechburg pondered the idea that her late husband might have had something to do with her incredible luck. "That was a big blessing in an otherwise terrible six months," she said. "Sometimes I think, 'Did you do something for me?' I don't know. He always said he'd always take care of me."
The big win came as both a comfort and a shock. Stivason recalled that it felt as if her life was turned upside down in the blink of an eye.
"I still can't feel like it's real," she remarked. "I've always thought, 'Do these even exist?' I've heard of people winning $250,000, but I never heard of anybody winning that kind of money."
On April 29, Stivason bought the winning ticket at Sprankle's Neighborhood Market, a local grocery store, and left for work. She scratched off the ticket in her car, saw her winnings, and promptly turned around to head back to Sprankle's.
According to the Pennsylvania lottery, the ticket is from a $20 scratch-off game called Magnificent Millions. Players can win top prizes of up to $1 million.
Coincidentally, Stivason bought the winning ticket with a $40 prize won from a previous Magnificent Millions ticket.
The grocery store employees recognize Stivason as a regular customer and a pleasant person. They would often exchange banter about winning a million dollars, but not everyone was actually prepared in the event of a big prize win.
"I don't know what to do with this," one of the clerks said as Stivason presented her with the winning ticket.
Regardless, everyone at the store was excited for the Stivason's lottery win, especially since the last winning lottery ticket sold from the store was about 20 years ago, worth $250,000. Sprankle's assistant manager Karen Kalmar was eager to help Stivason fill out paperwork to claim the prize. The grocery store will receive a $5,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
Stivason, who has no plans to retire, is a direct-care worker for people with disabilities. She offers assistance with employment and helps them maintain their jobs.
Aside from a potential trip to Walt Disney World with her grandchildren, she does not currently have any other plans for spending her winnings.
She did, however, make one promise to herself. "I just want to fix my house and have enough money to where I don't have to eat cat food when I'm old."