ST. LOUIS ( -- It's been three weeks since the hype of the largest Mega Millions jackpot draw in history.

Mercy Mega millions

Although no one in Missouri won the $1.6 billion prize the Show-Me State still had some big winners.

Five tickets were sold in Missouri worth $10,000 and one of those tickets was purchased by a group of nurses at Mercy Children's Hospital.

The buzz in the NICU at Mercy continues weeks after the winners were announced, when 126 nurses got a taste of victory.

“We never thought in a million years we would win anything at all and then we came one number away from winning $1.6 billion,” said NICU nurse Stephanie Brinkman.

After taxes, they were left with $7,200. Split between 126 nurses, they would get $56 each. So they decided instead of all benefiting a little, they would have two people benefit a lot.

“The majority said, 'let's give it to our co-workers, our family, the ones that are in biggest need' so that's what we decided to do,” Brinkman said.

Brinkman, who organizes the NICU lottery pool, presented checks to nurse Gretchen Post and neonatalogist, Casey Orellana.

“I know it's not the $1.6 billion dollars but here is what we have to offer you,” Brinkman recalls saying. “Hopefully, it'll help.”

Orellana's husband Phil was diagnosed with sarcoma cancer earlier this year.

“Since July, I have not been able to work. I have been getting various other treatments for wound care and at the same time, I had also found out the cancer had spread to my lungs,” Phil said.

Together the two have two kids, so to take care of everyone Casey cut her hours at Mercy in half.

“When I got that phone call [about the lottery winnings], it was a day I was wondering how we were going to pay for certain medications and it just touches your heart,” Casey said.

The other half of the Mega Millions win went to Post, who endured a painful family tragedy just a month ago.

“My son on October 23, died by suicide,” she said.

Gretchen’s son Jack was 17 years old, and a junior at St. Francis Borgia High School in Washington, Missouri. He was the youngest of three kids.

“Jack always had a smile on his face. He did not lead anyone on that this would happen,” Post said.

Jack died the night of the Mega Millions drawing. Now money from that drawing is going to his family.

“It's actually going to pay for Jack's funeral which I'm very grateful for,” Post said.

NICU nurses are there the moment families grow bigger, but they are their own family which, through this experience, has grown closer.

“Certainly knowing that I'm not the only one fighting this battle, that there are people there to support me, certainly makes it easier for me,” Phil Orellana said.

If you or you know someone who is seeking resources for depression, anxiety or any other mental health issues, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Here in Missouri, you can find more resources at the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention of Eastern Missouri

Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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