Only in heartbreaking America.
A New York man who struck it big with a scratch-off lottery ticket died just weeks after he claimed the prize.
It was a lucky start to 2018 for 51-year-old Donald Savastano, a Queens native who was living upstate in Sidney. He played the New York Lottery’s “Merry Millionaire” game and won $1 million.
“This is going change our lives, to tell you the truth,” Savastano said when he picked up his winnings.
So why is it a story? Because of his plans for the money: “go get a new truck and I don’t know probably go on vacation,” but before all that, a trip to the doctor.
“He was self-employed,” said Danielle Scott, who works at the store where he bought the winning ticket. “He didn’t have insurance, he hadn’t been feeling good for a while, I guess, and when he got the money he went into the doctor.”
He had stage four cancer, in his lungs and brain.
Savastano died Friday, 23 days after he won the lottery. “I was hoping that the money was maybe going to save his life,” Scott said.
In the richest country on earth, there are still people counting on winning the lottery to be able to go to the doctor. Sure, he probably could have found a policy under the Affordable Care Act as a self-employed carpenter, but for whatever reason he didn’t. Maybe he tried and still found the policies too expensive, maybe he didn’t have the time to figure it all out himself and didn’t know where to go for help.
Whatever the reason, he was sick and couldn’t go to the doctor because he didn’t have the money. Now that’s one of the forgotten men and women that Trump could have talked about in his State of the Union speech. But the kind of fear that this story incites isn’t the kind of fear that Trump finds useful in pitting Americans against one another.