When Friends Win The Lottery!

On my recent trip to Dublin to spend a few days with my dear friend David Morris, I had the fun experience of seeing David and a new friend to me now, Michael Bang win a substantial amount of money through EuroMillions.

Here’s what it looked like to the photographer (me) watching as they realized they’d won and then began the process of collecting their winnings.

EuroMillions - A winning Ticket

I was with them on Friday when they bought the ticket and agreed to split the results 50/50 if they won. I was also with David when he checked the results a few days later online and decided they had not won, but saved the tickets anyway to give to Michael.

Michael then went in the store in the photo above to scan the tickets and thought the scanner was broken when it kept saying he was holding a winning ticket. He did this three times before confirming with the cashier that they had indeed won.

Then they were off on a hunt to see how they could collect.

This woman was not very helpful as she did not seem to know the answers to their questions on how to collect.

So they had to work it out themselves eventually learning that it would have to be picked up by check as it was too big for a cash payout and they could not get it until Monday, the day they were both scheduled to fly back to Atlanta.

EuroMillions Lottery Check - Photo by Michael Bang

Michael changed his flight and stayed an extra day to pickup their winning check. They agreed to keep the amount to themselves so he fuzzed it out before posting it on Facebook where I lifted the image that you see here.

Having been sworn to secrecy, I won’t reveal the amount either except to say that it was a sizable number and great fun for me to share the excitement.

Spending time with David is always sweet and I have more Dublin stories and photos to share over the next few days.

Twas The Night Before …

Grady ID Clinic, World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day 2000-Karen Grice (unidentified) Elizabeth Harper, Angelle Vuchetich,

I woke this morning dreaming of a miraculous gift in a way, but one that had nothing to do with Santa. It should be not be surprise to me that it occurred on the eve of December 1 or that it had to do with HIV since today is World AIDS Day.

I remember two things from my dream only one of which made sense at the time and one came to me later as I was writing an email to the person in my dream.

David is a physician in Atlanta who is very much involved in HIV medicine and I imagine still sees a fair amount of patients who are living with HIV. We met when I worked for a pharmaceutical company whose focus was on HIV treatment and side effects.

David’s a lot of fun and I love hanging out with him, but there are some things I never ever expect to see him do, not even in dreams. I think that’s one reason I remembered it because what he was doing was way over the top for him.

In my dream … he was lying on the floor with both feet up in the air kicking and screaming  and waving his arms while shouting something like, “Yaaaaaay! NO MORE HIV TESTING!” There was a television on in the background with a news flash running across the bottom. The whole experience communicated a cure or vaccine for the virus and I watched in amazement as he celebrated the victory.

The other stand out thing in my dream was the number 37 and while it was clear to me what was happening the first part, I couldn’t figure out the 37 piece.

After I finished the email to David this morning it occurred to me as I hit send that I was 37 when I accepted a position with the immunology sales force and began an experience that would change my life.

The six years I spent working in the HIV community were monumental in terms of personal growth for me. I think it was during that time that I truly became an adult while seeing things and meeting people with more heart, passion, and resilience than I could have imagined.

It can be easy to overlook World AIDS Day as the noise level and media attention has diminished each year. With many people living longer and stronger with HIV, it’s tempting to forget that we haven’t found a cure, that prevention is still about education and safe sex and that as sweet as it may be to dream a different future, it’s not over … not yet.