August 25, 2017

Hospital worker wins $758.7 million Powerball, quits job

Daily Briefing

    A Massachusetts woman who's worked for more than three decades in the nursing department at Mercy Medical Center has won a $758.7 million Powerball prize—the largest undivided jackpot in U.S. history.

    At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Mavis Wanczyk, 53, remembered reflecting the night before the drawing on her slim chances of winning the jackpot, saying, "It's never going to be me."

    And when Massachusetts State Lottery officials first reported the winning ticket, it looked like she was right. Officials initially said the winning ticket had been sold at Handy Variety convenience store in Watertown.

    However, officials later corrected the announcement, clarifying that while that store had sold a $1 million winning ticket, the jackpot ticket had been sold in Chicopee, where Wanczyk lives.

    At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Wanczyk said, "Last night, it was kind of like—I didn't realize I had won." Once it had set in, Wanczyk said she felt "scared," but added that she'll be "OK."

    Wanczyk bought five tickets. For the ticket that turned out to be the winner, she'd used family birthdays for the numbers.

    Rather than collecting the full $758.7 million over a period of years, Wanczyk has chosen to take home a reduced lump sum of $480 million, or about $336 million after taxes.

    After learning the news that she'd won, Wanczyk told Mercy that after 32 years in a clerical job in the nursing department, she wouldn't be returning to work. She plans to retire early.

    "The first thing I want to do is just sit back and relax," Wanczyk said (Bartlett, Boston Business Journal, 8/25; Salsberg, Associated Press, 8/25; Andrews/Bever, "Morning Mix," Washington Post, 8/24).

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