A couple who scooped a £2 million ($2.6m) lottery win have said that the real celebrations began three days later when their teenage son was given the all-clear from cancer.
John and Allison McDonald matched six numbers on their lucky dip ticket on 18 December, then just 72 hours later, their 15-year-old son Ewan was declared free of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
John, a security officer, said: “It is just like all of our lifelong dreams came true in the space of three days. What a start to 2020.
“Everyone always dreams of winning the lottery at Christmas and talks about how amazing this would be. Allison and I never believed it would happen to us – and it has. Then to receive news that Ewan’s latest scans are all clear is just truly amazing.
“We are so thankful. 2020 is certainly looking like being one amazing year for the three of us.”
John, 62, and his 49-year-old wife Allison, who worked in an opticians, have both handed their notices in already. Who can blame them.
The pair, from Stockton-on-Tees, have been helping their son through his illness since May 2019, when he was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is a type of cancer that effects the lympahtic system – part of the immune system.
Grafter John found out he’d won the cash while he was at work, where he would regularly do 70-hour weeks.
He said: “I had finished my routine patrols and was sitting having a cup of tea when I remembered I had not checked my lottery ticket. I quickly realised I had matched two numbers and I thought great – this means I have won a Lucky Dip.
“I then realised I had matched three numbers and I was absolutely over the moon – thinking we can do something nice this weekend as a family. But as I continued to check I realised I had matched all six – I was just in total shock.
“My legs were trembling as I called Camelot to check that what I was seeing was in fact right, I couldn’t believe it when the news was confirmed.
“I immediately called Allison, who was in the dentist at the time.”
Mum-of-three Allison, who also has three grandchildren, said when she saw the missed call from her husband she immediately thought the worst.
She added: “All sorts of thoughts rushed through my head.
“I just thought, ‘oh no, why is he calling me – something must be wrong – something terrible has happened – has something gone wrong with Ewan?’
“Never did I believe when I called him back he would be telling me we had won the Lotto Jackpot.”
What a phone call to receive.
John and Allison plan to buy a four-bedroom house with their winnings, as well as to travel together.
Allison, who’s been on leave to look after Ewan, added: “It is fantastic that this win has not only given us the financial security to buy a lovely new family home, but also time.
“We can both now afford to stop work and spend time with our family making memories – something we could only have ever dreamed of doing.”
What a start to the year for this family.