Lottery winnings bankroll dream for aspiring doctor

Published: November 24, 2006 | 5086th good news item since 2003

Douglas Fader has heard the stories about winners of big lottery jackpots who squandered their winnings. His former co-worker Sara M. Richmond, he says, isn’t one of them.

Richmond, 36, formerly of Fairgrove, won $250,000 in a Michigan Lottery instant game four years ago. She’s using the money — $170,000 after taxes — to put herself through medical school.

Richmond has spent the past three years enrolled at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine. She expects to graduate in June 2008, then complete a three-year residency at a hospital before opening her own practice.

“Without the money, I really don’t know how this would have worked out,” Richmond told The Bay City Times for a story published Friday. “It would have been doable, but it would have been difficult.”

Richmond and Fader were working as emergency medical technicians for the Vassar Area Ambulance Service when Richmond bought the winning ticket on Nov. 8, 2002 at McGee’s Convenience Store in Fairgrove, 100 miles north of Detroit in Lower Michigan’s Thumb region.

“The lottery winners you hear about usually are the ones who lose it all,” said Fader, 60, who still works as an EMT. “But Sara’s the kind of person who can succeed at whatever she has her mind set on doing. It just takes time.”

Richmond already had been accepted to medical school by the time she hit the jackpot. So she and her husband Greg used the cash to pay off debts on two cars and to buy a home on five acres of woodlands near West Newfield, Maine.

“She said that the price of rent is so high out East that you might as well buy something right away,” Fader said, “because you’d pay all that rent while going to medical school and have nothing to show for it.”

Richmond said she and her husband may decide to sell their home and use the proceeds to help pay off the more than $200,000 she’ll owe after medical school. She hasn’t decided where she will set up her own practice, but she expects to spend about a month next year at Bay Regional Medical Center in Bay City on one of her clinical rotations.

To Fader, Richmond won the lottery money for a reason.

“In the ambulance business, you do see miracles happen, and to me that’s what this was,” he said. “She was supposed to win that money, and she did, and that’s what I told her.”

Published in Sudden Wealth
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