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$8.6-million lottery win gives P.E.I. man in wheelchair newfound freedom

NEW ANNAN, P.E.I. — Gary McCourt wheels himself into his storage the place his new half-tonne truck sits.

Shiny and black, it’s able to hit the highway.

Nonetheless, that is no abnormal truck.

This truck has modified Gary’s life – and his spouse’s – because it has opened up a complete new world for the 65-year-old New Annan man, who has been in a wheelchair since a foul fall in 2008.

The truck is likely one of the objects Gary bought after selecting the profitable numbers and taking dwelling $8.6 million in a Lotto 6/49 draw final April.

SaltWire Community spoke with Gary and Pleasure on Jan. 17 to see how the couple’s life has modified and see him having fun with his newfound independence.


Gary hauls out his smartphone and prompts an app that lifts your complete aspect of the wheelchair-accessible automobile up like a hatchback. The driving force’s aspect strikes out, decreasing till the platform rests on the storage flooring. Gary backs his wheelchair onto the platform till it clicks. The platform lifts him into the motive force’s aspect. The storage door lifts, and he is able to go.

For the reason that fall, Gary mentioned has been nearly utterly depending on his spouse, Pleasure, 58, for every thing.

Nonetheless, with the ability to afford a wheelchair-accessible truck has modified all that.

“It helped enhance this fairly a bit,’’ Gary mentioned, referring to their psychological well being as he factors to his head. “I really feel freer. I’m not caught in the home. I don’t must ask Pleasure if I’ve to go someplace or ask her to select one thing up for me. I can all the time see her shoulders slumping once I ask her to select one thing up.’’

Pleasure’s eyes fill with tears as Gary talks in regards to the weight she has been carrying.

“It has been unreal,” Pleasure mentioned, referring to how the cash will assist. “I don’t even know clarify it. I can’t discover the phrases. It looks like somebody has given us a second probability. We’d by no means have been capable of afford a wheelchair-accessible automobile for him to drive. Now, he can drive.”

Gary mentioned previous to the massive win, funds had been tight.

Gary requires nursing care to place him to mattress and get him up within the morning.

“We had been struggling,” he mentioned.


These challenges didn’t cease Gary and Pleasure from serving to out in the neighborhood.

The couple has fostered mentally disabled youngsters over time, for instance.

“That was so we may assist them alongside, and it was somewhat revenue to assist out,” Gary mentioned, including that the lottery win gained’t change that.

Proper now, the couple is targeted on constructing a brand new dwelling on the shores of Chelton Seashore.

Confetti rains down on Joy and Gary McCourt, from left, as Dallas McCready, chief strategy officer with the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, presents the New Annan couple with a symbolic cheque worth more than $8.6 million in April 2022 in Charlottetown. - Dave Stewart/SaltWire Network file
Confetti rains down on Pleasure and Gary McCourt, from left, as Dallas McCready, chief technique officer with the Atlantic Lottery Company, presents the New Annan couple with a symbolic cheque price greater than $8.6 million in April 2022 in Charlottetown. – Dave Stewart/SaltWire Community file

They stay in a one-level home, however it’s outdated and there isn’t a lot room for Gary to maneuver round. Wood ramps join every room to accommodate his wheelchair, however the doorways are barely extensive sufficient for him to get by.

The brand new home will embody two bedrooms, one that’s designed for Gary’s wants, full with a medical mattress.

“We each designed it,’’ Pleasure mentioned. “That’s our focus and we’ll go from there.’’

Pleasure added that the response in the neighborhood to their win has been a nice shock.

“(Atlantic Lotto) advised us that we had been going to be bludgeoned with individuals asking to borrow cash and stuff, however we’ve lucked out for some motive,’’ Gary mentioned.

“Everyone has simply been so form,’’ Pleasure added. “We’re simply two nation bumpkins.’’

Gary continues to be taking part in the lottery however now he performs for different family members.

“They appear to suppose I’m fortunate,’’ he laughed.

At a look

Following is details about Gary McCourt and his lottery win:

  • Gary selects three units of numbers for each Lotto 6/49 draw on-line and makes positive all three traces don’t have repeat numbers.
  • Gary gained $100,000 on the Lotto 6/49 TAG attract 2015.
  • Gary and Pleasure shared $2 million of their winnings within the $8.6-million win in April 2022 with instant household.

Dave Stewart is a reporter with SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. He will be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @DveStewart

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