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On her first lottery ticket purchase, an 18-year-old university student won the $48 million (US$35.7 million) Lotto 6/49 jackpot.
Juliette Lamour, 18, recently became the youngest person in history to win one of the largest Lotto 6/49 prizes, despite the fact that it was her very first lottery ticket purchase.
After the Ontario Lottery revealed on Jan. 8 that someone in the city had won the massive jackpot, rumours began to circulate in Sault Ste. Marie. The announcement sent everyone in Lamour's office into a ticket-buying frenzy.
"Oh, I have one," the winner informed her colleagues. Lamour, a pharmacist's assistant at the Rexall on Trunk Road in Sault Ste. Marie, pulled out her ticket and had her boss check it on his phone.
"It said, 'Winner, Gagnant!'" Lamour reflected. "The pharmacist's hands went to his head, and he collapsed to his knees. He exclaims, 'Oh my God!'"
"At first, I didn't understand what was going on," she continued. "This information was too much for me to take in. We caused quite a commotion in the store that day!"
On the morning of Feb. 3, nearly a month later, the Algoma University student was announced as the sole winner of the Jan. 7 Lotto 6/49 Gold Ball drawing at a press conference. She had just turned the legal age to buy lottery tickets in Ontario, making her the youngest person in Canada to win a jackpot of this size.
On the day she bought her life-changing ticket, she was on her way to see her grandfather and bring him some ice cream.
"I called him and asked what kind of ice cream he wanted," the Sault resident explained. "'You just turned 18, go buy a lotto ticket, test your luck,' he said. As a result, I did."
She remembered her grandfather's advice and stopped at the Circle K convenience store on McNabb Street in Sault Ste. Marie.
"I go to the corner store, and I'm in my car — and I didn't know how to buy it," she chuckled, recalling her first lottery purchase. "As a result, I had to contact my father. 'Dad, Grandpa wants me to buy a lottery ticket,' I explained. 'How do I go about doing it?' 'Oh, just go inside and get a Quick Pick,' he says."
Call it beginner's luck or being in the right place at the right time, but that ticket led to a lottery drawing that changed her life forever.
Her mother was the first person she called, and she was ecstatic for her daughter.
"When she answered the phone, I exclaimed, 'I won the lottery!' 'No, you didn't!' she says "She told the media.
While it may come as a surprise to many that someone so young won the $48 million jackpot, Lamour's identity was not a closely guarded secret in her community. Word spread quickly on social media among high school and university students, including many of Lamour's peers. It only took a few days for her name and age to spread throughout the town.
"I hear this is possibly the worst-kept secret in all of Sault Ste. Marie," OLG President and CEO Duncan Hannay joked to the media during the press conference. "I understand that it is a small community and that word spreads quickly, but I can tell you that you only know half of the story. It's a truly heartwarming and amazing story, and I believe you'll be astounded when you hear it."
Lamour, a student-athlete and member of the Steel City Ignite volleyball club, recently graduated from Superior Heights Collegiate and Vocational School and is now studying biology at Algoma University with the goal of becoming a doctor.
"I intend to pursue a four-year programme," the winner concluded. "I'd also like to attend the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and return to Northern Ontario to practise."
Not only does Lamour have good fortune on her side, but she also has a confidant and resource in her own father, Kevin, who worked as a longtime advisor before co-founding Our Financial Plans on Queen Street in 2018. Lamour will have no trouble finding a financial advisor.
The money she won will undoubtedly help her pay for her education as she pursues her dream of becoming a doctor.
"I was eligible for education assistance programmes as a member of the Garden River First Nation community, but I no longer require those resources, which means someone else in the community can benefit from that funding," Lamour explained. "I'd love to return to this area as a doctor and give back to my community."
Lamour also plans to use the money to "travel to different countries, study their history and culture, try their food, and listen to their music."
However, determining the best way to allocate the money from her windfall will take time and thought, so she is not in a hurry.
"You know what, it's quite a bit," she admitted. "I'll have to consider it. We'll definitely keep friends and family in mind, and since I'm still a university student, I'm going to finish my biology report tonight."
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