Below is a “Must read” article by Bryan Llenas, Published May 17, 2013 for Fox News Latino:
“Ricardo Cerezo, the 44-year-old head of household, quit his job in management consulting in 2010 to take care of his daughter, Savannah, who had to stay home with severe bipolar disorder. A professional in helping companies in distress, he painstakingly took her to and from medical appointments and trips to the hospital. Their house has been in foreclosure since February and they were months away from eviction. Their cars were repossessed. Their jewelry gone, sold to the highest bidder.
“Even still, 14-year-old Savannah died last August. Brain-dead, her parents pulled her off life support after suffering four-and-a-half hours of seizures. One of Savannah’s last gifts to her parents was a glass cookie jar. And one of her last requests, seeing their financial struggles, was urging them to never stop playing the lottery.
“‘Savannah was the only one that encouraged us to play,’ Mr. Cerezo told Fox News Latino. ‘Everyone at home thought it was a waste of time given that we needed every penny.’
“The father played when he could and saved old lottery tickets, they never won anything. This week, nine months after Savannah’s death, Ricardo and his wife, Bonnie, were doing some kitchen cleaning and she asked him to finally do something about the three months’ worth of old tickets filling up the jar. So instead of throwing them out, he decided to actually check if one of the tickets had winning numbers.
“Ricardo took the 11 tickets stashed in the cookie jar to the 7-Eleven where he had bought them. The first eight out of the nine tickets came up empty. The next ticket was a winner…$3. But the last ticket, a Quick Pix, alerted Cerezo that he needed to file a claim, which means the ticket was worth $600 or more. As it turns out, it was worth nearly $5 million. It’ll be spread out in annual payments of $100,000 for 26 years and paid on each February, coincidentally Savannah’s birthday month.
“‘She kept insisting that somehow she was going to pay us back,’ he said. ‘She kept her promise.’
“Now they’ll be able to keep their home and they have not touched Savannah’s room, except for adding an urn with her ashes. It was in that very room where Ricardo cried for losing his daughter and where he prayed that life would get better for his family. ‘Dear lord, please just don’t take away this room,’ he said he prayed. ‘We had lost everything we had. The room was the last thing we had of her existence. Little did we know the answer was downstairs the whole time, in a nondescript glass cookie jar filled with old papers,’ Ricardo said.
“They pledged to contribute to their church, where they sought consolation while grieving Savannah’s death, and other charities. They will also look to fund organizations, or start an organization of their own, that will conduct research into mental health, given their daughter’s deadly bout with bipolar disorder. ‘Every now and then we can find the joy in the win itself,’ Ricardo said. ‘We are very happy that we have some financial peace. But there is no real jumping for joy.’”