£24.5m lottery winner gives it all to charity

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Multicoloured lottery or bingo balls

Tom Crist, a 64-year-old retired Canadian CEO, has revealed that he won £24.5 million on the lottery in May. He apparently heard from the lottery on his way to play a round of golf. He put the phone down, played his round, and never said a word abut it.

Now he has said he will give it all to cancer charities. And he's not the first generous winner.


Crist, from Calgary in Canada, didn't tell anyone about the win - not even his four children. However all big winners have to hold a press conference under the Canadian lottery rules, so he appeared yesterday and announced he would be giving it all away to cancer charities. He wore a baseball hat and dark glasses in order to hide his appearance as much as possible.

The Daily Mail reported that his wife Jan died from cancer in February last year at the age of 57, and he decided to make the donation in her name - starting with the centre where she received treatment.

He told CBC News that he had been a successful CEO, so didn't need the money to care for him or his four children, and felt his wife of 33 years would have been happy to know he was donating the money. His family are supportive of the move.

Generous winners


It's an incredibly generous move, but he isn't the first lottery winner to give away much of their cash.
Perhaps the most famous from the UK are Chris and Colin Weir. They won £161 million in 2011, and after sharing the money with the people and causes close to their hearts, they set up the Weir Charitable Trust dedicated to improving the quality of life in Scotland. They take applications to fund health, sport, cultural, recreational and animal welfare projects.

Another stunning example was Allen and Violet Large from Nova Scotia, who won $11.2 million in 2010 and immediately gave away 98% of their win to the Red Cross, churches, fire departments and the hospitals where Violet had received treatment for cancer.

Perhaps more controversial was Bob Erb, who won $25 million in the Canadian lottery, and has given around $7 million of that away. This included $1 million for the promotion of marijuana legalisation and a $10,000 tip on a restaurant bill after hearing that the owner's daughter had cancer.

Part of the reward of giving your winnings away is that even after your death, your legacy will live on. When Sheelah Ryan from Orlando died in 1994 her obituary appeared in the New York Times. It didn't celebrate her as $55.2 million Powerball winner, but as the woman who gave the money away to a huge number of good causes that were close to her heart. This included paying for poor children to have operations, and covering the rent to avoid mothers being evicted. She also gave money to senior citizens and the homeless. The foundation she set up continues to give money away in her name today.

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