CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (WCMH)– Charles “Tom” DeBord knows what it’s like to win the Powerball.
He did it last March, hitting five numbers–he gave the ticket to his wife Cheryl that morning, saying he couldn’t see well and asking her to read it.
“All of a sudden she started screaming and hollering and yelling and everything,” he said.
He won $1 million.
And at this point in his life, retired from the Mead paper plant, he and Cheryl could live on Easy Street right in Chillicothe.
But fate has a way of dealing someone an unexpected hand.
In August, Cheryl became very sick. Tom said he’d never forget the words of a nurse. “She said right in front of me, face to face, and she said your wife only has a few days to live.”
It was cancer. She had been fighting it before and survived eight bouts of it, but this time, number nine, was the unlucky number that was picked for her. So the couple decided to make a decision. “Why don’t we set up a time when we can get all your kids here and then we’ll shut the medicine off and we can let her pass,” he said.
Her family came together and surrounded her family one last time. Tom said, even in those last moments, there was happiness. “She got a smile on her face, squeezed my hand, I mean, that’s what kept her going all the time.”
Then two days after Cheryl’s funeral, tragedy struck again. Their son, Bill, collapsed of a massive heart attack.
“We buried her August the second, and he died August the fourth.”
That was the fate of the luckiest man in Chillicothe, who would give it all back in a second to have something more valuable than any lottery win: more time with the ones he loved, and lost.
“I’d give it back in a heartbeat.”