When These Nurses Won the Lottery, They Gave It to Their Coworkers in Need
“We’re always here for each other, no matter what."
"We have a very stressful job, so it's just something fun that keeps us going," nurse Gretchen Post told CNN.
After playing the odds for years, last month they finally won big: $10,000 in the Mega Millions lottery.
But the lucky 126 Mercy Hospital staffers who entered the pool decided that instead of each pocketing $56, they'd use the money to help two of their coworkers who'd fallen on hard times.
Speaking with CNN, pool organizer Stephanie Brinkman recalled the night last month she stayed up late to watch the results come in. Her phone lit up shortly after it was clear that she was holding a winning ticket. A piece of the $1.6 billion jackpot was theirs.
"I was so in shock, I couldn't believe it," Brinkman said.
But the group’s shock quickly turned to grief when they learned that Post's 17-year-old son had committed suicide mere hours before the drawing.
“We thought right away that this [money] wasn’t going to make us or break us and it was money we didn’t have before,” Brinkman recalled to Good Morning America. “We needed to help somebody.”
After chatting on Facebook, the staff came to a decision: they would divide the winnings between just two of their own. Half of the money would go to Post for her son's funeral expenses, and the other half to neonatologist Dr. Casey Orellana, whose husband was diagnosed with stage 4 sarcoma cancer earlier this year. Each woman received $3,600.
WATCH: North Carolina Woman Wins Lottery Twice in the Same Day
"I was surprised that they won the lottery, but I wasn’t surprised they were being so generous and amazing because that’s just who they are," Orellana told GMA of her NICU colleagues. "We’ve just had so much support from everyone at Mercy and in the NICU. They’ve all along the way brought food and been there for conversations and hugs."
According to Brinkman, it just goes to show was a strong bond the NICU staff shares.
“We’re always here for each other, no matter what," she added. "We hope stories like this encourage others to spread kindness and love."