Reversal Of Fortune

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 10:24am

Teen beats cancer, wins the lottery.

A 19-year-old cancer survivor developed a steadfast ritual that paid off in a short period of time with a $250,000 prize from Mega Millions.

For just more than a year, Nick Ruth of Towson, Maryland has purchased Mega Millions tickets from the 7-Eleven store closest to his job.

On Friday, Ruth wasn't scheduled to work but he went to the store because it "just felt right."

Over the weekend, Ruth realized his ticket matched five of the six numbers drawn.

"I couldn't believe it. So, I asked my mom to look at the ticket. Once we figured out how much I'd won, we started to run all over the house screaming. After we calmed down, we looked at each other and started screaming and running again," Ruth said.

After taxes, he'll get just over $165,000.

So what would a young man like Ruth dream to buy with such a windfall? A sports car? An exotic vacation?

Well, for Ruth -- who has been in remission from leukemia for four years -- he's paying it forward.

"As a cancer survivor, it is really important for me to give back. I want to 'pay forward' what some wonderful local organizations did for me. So, I am definitely going to donate money to cancer organizations," Ruth said.

On his list are the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Believe in Tomorrow and the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which sent him on a cruise.

He said he also plans to pay off his car and put money in his bank account.

"Anyone that plays the Maryland Lottery -- if they win, we're thrilled. Nick is exceptional, though. He's a nice young man. He's a hard worker, and he's a cancer survivor willing to give back, so he's really an exceptional winner, and we're thrilled that he won," said Maryland Lottery spokeswoman Erica Palmisano.

Despite the trials he's been through in life, Ruth remains humble.

"People keep saying I deserve it and talk about what I went through, but there's people far worse than what I went through that can use the money more than me, and I'm just glad I can help out in a big way," the teen said.

While excited about his new found wealth, the Archbishop Curley High School alum is anxiously awaiting word about a law-enforcement position for which he recently applied.

"I believe that things happen in threes: I won this huge amount of money, the Ravens won last night and I'm hoping I'll get this job," Ruth said. "That would really be icing on the cake."

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