ST. LOUIS, MO. (CBS Local) — A group of Missouri nurses who won a relatively small prize in the recent $1.537 billion Mega Millions drawing have decided to donate their winnings to two colleagues in need.
A group of 126 nurses working in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at Mercy Children’s Hospital St. Louis didn’t win the big jackpot, but 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,” NICU nurse Stephanie Brinkman told CBS affiliate KMOV.
One of their tickets was worth $10,000, which is around $7,200 after taxes. Split between 126 nurses, they would get around $56 each. So they decided instead of all benefiting a little, they would help two co-workers benefit a lot.
“The majority 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,” said Brinkman.
Brinkman, who organizes the NICU lottery pool, presented one of the checks to neonatologist Casey Orellana. She’s had to cut her hours in half to care for her husband who is battling sarcoma cancer.
“When I got that phone call [about the lottery winnings], it was a day I was wondering how we were going to pay for certain medications and it just touches your heart,” Casey said.
The other check went to nurse Gretchen Post, who lost her 17-year-old son to suicide on the night of the Oct. 23 Mega Millions drawing.
“It’s actually going to pay for Jack’s funeral which I’m very grateful for,” a tearful Post said.