The Sidney man who won $1 million off of a New York State Lottery scratch-off ticket has passed away suddenly of stage 4 cancer. 51-year-old Donald Savastano won just three weeks ago. @wicztv pic.twitter.com/W6qSato9VU— Amanda Pitts WICZ (@AmandaPittsTV) January 29, 2018
Donald Savastano, 51, got lucky and made plans for the cash he won.
"I saw the Merry Millionaire ticket and figured, 'Why not,'" Savastano said, according to WBNG. "This is gonna change our lives, to tell you the truth."
He was a self-employed carpenter with no clear-cut plan for retirement.
"The money will help with that," Savastano said before his passing. "I don't have any other extravagant plans. I'll buy a new truck, pay off some debt and invest for the future."
Savastano, thinking ahead and determined to remain independent, also made plans to arrange a visit to see a doctor, according to Danielle Scott, the cashier who sold him the ticket.
"He was self-employed, he didn't have insurance, he hadn't been feeling good for a while I guess, and when he got the money he went in to the doctor," Scott said. "He had a friend come and talk to me, and they told me that he was very sick and that he had brain and lung cancer and that he was in the hospital and they didn't think he was gonna make it."
Look at how fast life can change. Savastano was a Queens native who became an industrious carpenter after learning the trade from his father. He then went on to win a million dollars, but a tragic fate stopped him from fulfilling his hopes and dreams.
"He was known for his high-quality work and perfectionism. He always tried to reach out and help those he could by teaching them 'the right way to do things,'" according to his obituary.
Savastano leaves behind his girlfriend, mother, and four brothers.
"I just hope that they can use the money and can give him the best," Scott said. "He was a good person, he deserved it. I just wish he had more time with it."