Rachel Lapierre won the lottery in 2013—a one in seven million stroke of luck, netting her C$1,000 a week for the rest of her life.
At the time, she was a nurse, a former Miss Quebec, and already a person dedicated to helping those around her. At 20, she ran a modeling school to help young women build careers under their own control in the fashion industry. Later, as a nurse, she worked in emergency departments and was a part of overseas humanitarian organizations.
Lapierre was 56 when her numbers popped up on the Canadian National Lottery.
“I figured that if I won, I would go ahead with this project of founding a charity,” she told le Journal de Montreal in 2013.
And she’s done just that. Using her winnings to organize teams of volunteers under a charity called Le Book Humanitaire, she has worked in eight countries and counting. Beginning in her hometown of Montreal, providing food and clothes to the homeless, she has also traveled abroad, building things like street clinics in India, Haiti, and Senegal.
“Money is money,” said Lapierre in an interview with the Mirror about her passion project. “When you’re born, you don’t have anything. And when you go, you go with nothing but your memories. You go with what you did here in life.
“We just try to promote good deeds. Good deeds can be so many things. It can be a bike, it can be food, it can be transport to go to the hospital.”
Lapierre’s winnings are supplemented by a number of partner companies to fund the charity, including Les Ateliers, Lunettes Dépôt, and international shipping company Transport Charrette.
Lapierre’s whole life is a story about making sure that her successes elevated others with her. If one can be said to deserve to win the lotto, surely she did. And she continues to make sure that her rising tide lifts all boats.