Let’s be frank, during at least one point in our lives we’ve spent time fantasizing over what we’d do with our (hypothetical) lottery winnings.
Would we go on a holiday, buy a house, or shower our loved ones with expensive presents we normally wouldn’t be able to afford?
Although there are ways to improve your chances on winning the jackpot, there’s only about a 1 in 14 million chance you’ll ever have that kind of pay day.
However, Rachel Lapierre from Montreal, Canada is one of the lucky few who are able to say they’ve won the grand prize.
The former beauty queen won $1,000 a week for the rest of her life, and instead of spending the money on herself, she decided to spend it on those in need.
“Money is money. When you’re born you don’t have anything. And when you go [die], you go with nothing but your memories. You go with what you did here in life,” Lapierre said.
“We just try to promote good deeds. Good deeds can be so many things,” she added. “It can be a bike, it can be food, it can be transport to go to the hospital. It can even be just listening to somebody on the phone because they are lonely.”
When Lapierre won the lottery in 2013, she quickly quit her nursing career and started dedicating her time to helping the less fortunate.
She launched her own charity, Le Book Humanitaire, which focuses on helping those facing an emergency or crisis situation. The non-profit organization pairs volunteers with people in need, and has about 17,000 members.
While the foundation thrives on donations, Lapierre uses her winnings to fill in the gaps when needed.
“I quit my job, because this is what I will be doing for the rest of my life,” Lapierre said.
However, Lapierre didn’t always know she’d become so heavily involved in philanthropy.
Back in the 80s, Lapierre enrolled in a modelling school, which inspired her to enter the Miss Quebec pageant in 1981.
She ultimately won the competition and spent the next year touring the country. It was during that time that Lapierre noticed the similarities between volunteer work and the modelling industry. She even started her own modelling school to help young models break into the industry.
“At 20, I loved helping, but I did not know that I would necessarily go in that direction,” she explained. “I learnt everything I could. I realized that giving pleasure made me happy and that doing good deeds fed me.”
Lapierre’s philanthropic efforts don’t only extend to Canada either. Le Book Humanitaire helps people from across the world. She’s currently developing an app that’ll be available in French, English and Spanish so good Samaritans will be able to donate quicker.
“I had [already] been doing humanitarian aid for many years,” Lapierre said. “There are no employees. We decided to provide assistance services to the populations.”
“I grew up in a poor environment and saw misery and sadness,” she continued. “I told myself that if we put it down, if we all made a small gesture, the world would be better.”
For more lottery stories, take a look at these unbelievable tales: