A Cancer-Stricken Laotian Immigrant Wins The $1.3 Billion Powerball Prize

(NationalUSNews.com) — In a press conference held by the Oregon Lottery on Monday April 29 Cheng “Charlie” Saephan was revealed to be the big winner of the Powerball jackpot. The $1.3 billion win represented the fourth-largest grand jackpot in Powerball history. Saephan had apparently purchased more than 20 tickets for the April 6 draw. His friend, 55-year-old Laiza Chao of Milwaukie, had contributed $100 towards the purchase of the tickets.

While originally born in Laos, Saephan immigrated to the United States from Thailand in 1994. At the news conference, he wore a special sash identifying himself as Iu Mien. The Iu Mein are a southeast Asian ethnic group with roots in southern China known for their assistance to American forces during the Vietnam war. Many Iu Mein have come to America since then, with one large and thriving community in the Portland area.

Because they went in on the ticket purchase together, Saephan will be sharing the winnings with his 37-year-old wife, Duanpen and his friend Chao. Having opted to take the money in one lump sum rather than payments, they will be walking away with a total of $422 million after taxes. The friends have agreed to split the money 50/50, with Saephan and his family taking half and Chao receiving the other half. After realizing they had won, Saephan texted his friend, who was on his way to work, telling him he didn’t need to go anymore.

Saephan has been battling cancer for eight years and has been receiving chemotherapy. He commented that now that he is able to provide for his family and his health, he will be using some of the money to find a good doctor. He credits good luck and prayer for the historic win. Saephan also mentioned that he intends to buy a house for himself and his family and will probably keep playing Powerball. He commented that he could get lucky again. Under Oregon law, lottery winners are not permitted to remain anonymous with few exceptions.

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