Oregon Man Battling Cancer Wins $1.3 Billion Powerball Jackpot

Oregon Man Battling Cancer Wins $1.3 Billion Powerball Jackpot
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Cheng "Charlie" Saephan's luck has taken a turn. 

The 46-year-old Oregon resident—who has been battling cancer for eight years and just had his last chemotherapy treatment—became one of the winners of the $1.3 billion Powerball jackpot from earlier this month. 

According to NBC News, Saephan said during an April 29 news conference that he and his wife Duanphen, 37, planned to split the winnings with friend Laiza Chao, 55, who chipped in $100 to buy a batch of more than 20 tickets with the couple. They also confirmed they are opting to take their winnings—with a cash value of $621 million—as a lump sum payment of $422 million after taxes as opposed to an annual annuity payout.  

According to Saephan—who is father to two young children—he wrote out numbers for the lottery on a piece of paper and slept with it under his pillow in the weeks leading up to the drawing. He prayed, "I need some help—I don't want to die yet unless I have done something for my family first."

Now, "I will be able to provide for my family and my health."

During the conference, Saephan recounted the moment he realized he won and called Chao to tell her the news. 

"I said, 'Laiza, where are you?' and she said, 'I'm going to work,'" he recalled, per CBS affiliate KOIN. "I replied, 'You don't have to go anymore.'"

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Originally born in Laos, Saephan immigrated to the United States in 1994. He's lived in Portland for 30 years and, prior to his winnings, worked as as a machinist for an aerospace company. 

His winning ticket was purchased at a Plaid Pantry convenience store in Portland in early April. The Oregon Lottery said it had to go through a security and vetting process before announcing the identity of the person who came forward to claim the prize. 

Under state law, Oregon residents who win the lottery cannot remain anonymous, with few exceptions, and have up to a year to claim their prize. 

The $1.3 billion prize is the fourth largest Powerball jackpot in history, with the largest being a $2.04 billion prize in California in 2022. 

"I am grateful for the lottery and how I have been blessed," Saephan told reporters, according to CBS. " My life has been changed. Now I can bless my family and hire a good doctor for myself."