(CNN) – At Mercy Children's Hospital, the nurses and staff of the neonatal intensive care unit pool their money to…
(CNN) – At Mercy Children‘s Hospital, the nurses and staff of the neonatal intensive care unit pool their money to enter the lottery.
They have been doing it for years, with varying degrees of success. 19659002] Last month, the staffers at the St. Louis area hospital won big: $ 10,000 in the Mega Millions lottery.
The joyous discovery
Instead of divvying up the winnings among their group, they gave the money to two colleagues going through some tough times. The lottery pool began as a way to bring some levity.
“We have a very stressful job, so it’s just something fun that keeps us going,” Nurse Gretchen Post told CNN.
As last month’s jackpot grew to $ 1
.6 billion, nurse and lottery pool organizer – Stephanie Brinkman stayed up late and watched the results come in. Soon, her phone was lighting up with calls and messages from her colleagues. They had a winning ticket.
“I was so shocked, I could not believe it,” Brinkman said.
The group’s elation soon with a sobering reality.
They learned That Post’s 17-year-old son had killed himself just a few hours before the drawing.
The staff chatted on Facebook and came up with a decision: Give the money to Post for her son’s funeral expenses – and to a neonatologist, Dr. Casey Orellana, whose husband was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.
Each of the women received $ 3,600.
Post says she was grateful for the gesture and immediately told the rest of her family.  “It was a little bit of relief that I would have some money to help with Jack’s funeral,” she says.
Post says Jack was proud of his mother’s career and had thought about going to medical school to become a psychiatrist.
“He was very compassionate and intellectual, so I think he would have done so. “
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the title of Dr. Casey Orellana. The story has been updated.