17 February 2015
We've been in the lottery business for a while now, and in that time we've pretty much seen it all. Hundreds of millions of dollars and pounds won, hundreds of millions of dollars and pounds lost. Lottery winners becoming rich beyond their wildest dreams, and lottery winners going bankrupt. Winners going to jail, winners becoming homeless, winners living the high life in luxury, winners being responsible and living off their money for years on end. You name it, we've seen it, and seen it a hundred times over.
But every once in a while a story comes along, so different and so unique that it stands head and shoulders over the rest, and touches us in a way we never thought possible. Tom Crist has one such story.
In May 2013, Tom made headlines by winning $40 million in Calgary's largest every lottery jackpot - a life-changing amount that most of us would use to better our own lives, and perhaps those of our family and friends as well.
But this Canadian winner wasn't interested in breaking records, and he certainly wasn't interested in bettering his own life. Which is why when he won the $40 million jackpot, he made headlines a second time by giving every single cent of it away to charity.
Rather than spending his new-found millions on luxury cars, caviar and champagne, Tom stayed true to himself and to the memory of his late wife Jan, who succumbed to lung cancer at just 57, only a year before Tom's big win.
While emotions are still raw over the loss of his wife, Tom has made it his life's work since then to help others in need, his biggest contribution so far being the donation of his entire $40 million jackpot to charity - some to children with cancer, some to cancer foundations, and some to cancer research facilities.
But by far Tom's most memorable contribution has been to a young Filipino woman stricken by terminal cancer. Unable to see her parents in the Philippines for one last family reunion, she had resigned herself to spending her final weeks alone - until Tom stepped in and flew her parents to the US to see her.
Usually Tom distances himself from the media, and those he helps - however in this case he made a rare exception.
“I tell them they don’t need to meet me, because it’s not all about me being in the paper and on TV, or so all your friends know who Tom Crist is,” he says. “I just want to help them and disappear.”
“I flew them over and looked after them for what’s probably their last visit with their daughter, and then I met them too. (The daughter) told me I absolutely have to meet them, and how can you say no to a request like that, so I went over and they cooked a nice dinner, and I got to meet the parents. It was tough.”
Tough it may have been, but a touching reunion it was as well - one made possible only by Tom's incredible generosity and philanthropic spirit.
We like to think that if we ever won the lottery, we could be just as generous and selfless as Tom - whether to the tune of our entire jackpot or a portion to those in need. Because as we all know, when you help others, the person you ultimately help is yourself.
If you're in a giving mood, why not follow Tom's example and give a little back. One lottery ticket from GiantLottos.com is all it takes, and you too could soon be helping to change not just your own life, but someone else's as well.
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