They won $11.2 million from a lottery ticket in July. And now every penny is gone. But Allen and Violet Large didn’t spend any of it on themselves. And that’s just the way they like it.
"What you’ve never had, you never miss," said Violet, 78.
Married since 1974, the Lower Truro couple don’t live large. They don’t travel, they don’t gamble and they don’t buy what they don’t need.
"We have an old house, but we’re comfortable and we’re happy in it," Violet said.
They spent 30 years in Ontario where Allen was a steel welder and Violet worked for cosmetics and chocolate companies. They retired in 1983 and returned to Nova Scotia.
"We were pretty well set, not millionaires, but comfortable," said Allen, 75.
So when they hit it big in Lotto 6-49’s July 14 draw, they decided to give it all away.
All that money "was a big headache," Allen said. Violet said she was concerned about "crooked people" who might try to take advantage of them.
But the big win came at a difficult time in their lives: Violet was undergoing treatment for cancer that doctors discovered in the spring.
"That money that we won was nothing," said Allen, choking back tears. "We have each other."
Violet has been through surgery and finished her last chemotherapy treatment a week ago.
"I’ve been very fortunate not to be bedfast," said Violet, who also pointed to the support of her family and neighbours who bring them meals and keep their spirits up.
"It’s very hard" to watch the woman he married 36 years ago go through so much, Allen said.
"All the money in the world can’t buy your health," he said.
After the win, the couple took about a week to work out the details before embarking on their $11,255,272 spending spree.
They took care of family first and then began delivering donations to the two pages’ worth of groups they had decided on, including the local fire department, churches, cemeteries, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, hospitals in Truro and Halifax, where Violet underwent her cancer treatment, and organizations that fight cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. The list goes on and on.
The couple won’t say how much they gave each group, but they’ve received plenty of phone calls, letters and plaques of gratitude. While they’re thankful for each one, they didn’t do it for the recognition.
"It made us feel good," said Violet. "And there’s so much good being done with that money."
She and her husband said they feel privileged to be able to give back to the community, to help the firefighters, the doctors and nurses and the volunteers who have helped them.
"We’re the lucky ones," Violet said. "I have no complaints."