Ottawa Lotto Max winners say money doesn't solve everything
An Ottawa woman who became a multimillionaire after winning the lottery has made her dream of owning a yoga studio come true. But she says that while the money she won has solved some problems for her family, it also created others.
For the better, I get to put my dreams into reality. For the worse, I can't trust the way I used to trust.- Tina Ferrone
She used to teach classes at Blue Bamboo Yoga in Stittsville, and for seven years she dreamed of owning the studio herself one day.
Now she does.
"It's amazing. It's life-changing. It gives you hope, it gives you faith in doing something that you're passionate about, and believing in what you want to do with your life," Ferrone says.
"It's what I'm supposed to do, it's what I'm meant to do, and right now this is my purpose. And hopefully, when this all gets off the ground, I can take off for a year or six months."
Couple bombarded by requests for money
Before she won the $48 million, money was tight and her husband, Liam McGee, was battling cancer and was unable to work.
Then in April, Ferrone bought her first Lotto Max ticket on a whim and won the jackpot.
"I think I slept with the ticket under my pillow for like, three nights. You can't process it. You absolutely cannot process that. Nothing in the world could prepare you for that. Nothing," she says.
Feronne and McGee, who is now in remission, bought a bigger house and their dream cars.
But it's not all good news.
Feronne and McGee have been bombarded by hundreds of letters and messages from people around the world, begging for money.
"It's very weird. Some of them, you go through them and feel bad for the people. Others, you look at them and can't believe someone's that arrogant. But at the end of the day, unless you take the time to go meet these people and visit them, you don't know who's legit and who is a scam artist."
Ferrone impersonated in charity scam
"It's very upsetting, that people would go to that length. ... I think that's just horrible," she says. "For the better, I get to put my dreams into reality. For the worse, I can't trust the way I used to trust."
The couple is now setting up a legitimate foundation to help cancer patients struggling to pay their bills.
At her yoga studio, Feronne has hired three of her friends and co-workers from her past job at the RA Centre.
Feronne is also opening a second yoga studio called Beyond Yoga in the new year. It's currently under construction on Hearst Way near the Eagleson Park and Ride.