95 year-old Leo from South Australia became our oldest ever Deaf Lottery winner after taking out a massive $820,000 windfall. His first plans for the prize? A new pair of hearing aids!
It’s not unusual to have to call our winners a few times to get through to them and tell them they’ve won The Deaf Lottery. It is unusual for the winner to tell us to call him back.
Leo*, from Adelaide, South Australia, is 95 years old, and lives with significant hearing loss. The first two times we called Leo was being driven home and the ambient noise made it difficult for him to properly understand.
Once Leo got back home, Deaf Lottery General Manager Paul Stockwell was able to successfully impart the news that Leo had won the maximum first prize – a whopping $820,000!
“Oh my goodness. I can’t believe this,” Leo said once the news had settled in. “God bless you is all I can say – you amaze me!”
As a $50 Deaf Lottery VIP since Lottery 185 (whose theme was supporting hard of hearing seniors!), Leo added $20,000 in Gold Bullion to his $800,000 First Prize.
“This win will certainly help my family,” Leo told us. “These things never happen to me. I hope this doesn’t affect my pension.”
When we caught up with Leo’s daughter Chloe a week after the call, she recounted the “very exciting” afternoon following her dad’s win.
“I got home and saw there were quite a few messages from dad, getting more urgent each time,” Chloe remembers. “He was saying I’m fine, but I have to show you something – you have to come over!”
Despite living only ten minutes from her father’s house, where Leo still lives independently, Chloe hit peak traffic, making the wait even more unbearable.
“I was turning it over in my mind trying to work out why he was so excited - I thought maybe he’d gotten a letter from the Queen!”
Eventually she arrived, and Leo sat her down in his study to show her the official email confirming his massive win. They let the rest of the family know the amazing news, and the celebrations began!
“When I told my brothers the story about how many calls it took to tell him the news, everyone just thought it was so funny,” Chloe says. “We were all falling about laughing thinking about Paul making three phone calls – calling dad to tell him he’s a lucky winner and dad telling him to call back!”
“One of the other amusing things is that dad won $70 on the Lotto the week before he won The Deaf Lottery. I told him to get set for a win on Powerball as he was clearly on a roll. He didn’t win Powerball but then he got the $800,000 call!”
Leo hasn’t yet decided on which prize option he’ll take, but Chloe says he has one small but very important purchase already lined up.
“The added irony of this situation is that new hearing aids have been at the top of dad’s shopping list for a long time,” she says. “We’ve got an appointment booked already to upgrade them, and he’s very hopeful about the outcome.”
Last year’s COVID lockdowns in SA, paired with his deteriorating hearing, had affected one of Leo’s great loves – live music.
“Dad’s still a very active and positive person, and he’s enjoying being able to travel again to listen to concerts,” Chloe says. “He’s still coming to terms with this win, but he’s delighted for what it will mean for him and his immediate family.”
Leo told us he chose to support the Deaf Lottery because of the benefit it brings to hard of hearing Australians, and we’re so thrilled this decision has paid dividends for a very deserving winner.
*Name changed to protect anonymity.