Woman Wins $140 M In The Lottery But Spends Half Of It On Her Unusual 'Addiction' — Helping Others

If charitable donations are an addiction, Frances Connolly is the spokesperson.

woman holding money Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

Winning the lottery is an experience that most people don’t have in their lifetimes, but one Irish couple hit the big time. According to the Irish National Lottery, the odds of winning the lottery are 1 in 10,737,573.

When they won the EuroMillions in January 2019, Frances and Patrick Connolly stated that they were “overwhelmed” by their 115 million pound win, which translates to 140 million USD. The couple gave the statement that "this is a massive sum of money and we want it to have a huge impact on the lives of other people we know and love as well as on our future too."


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Frances Connolly stated that "It's going to be so much fun giving it away. The pleasure for me is going to be seeing people's faces."

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Connolly gave away over half of her lottery win because she’s ‘addicted’ to helping others. 

Philanthropy is something that even people with average incomes can practice. Even if you’re not lucky enough to win the lottery, as Connolly was, you can still help your community. Connolly stated that charity work “gives you a buzz and it’s addictive.” 

According to the Save The Children Foundation, charitable giving has major psychological benefits for those who participate. One of the benefits of giving back is the positive effect it has on the brain—put simply, generosity equals joy. Charitable giving also increases feelings of self-worth a high self-esteem. As noted by Save The Children, "donating is a selfless act."

"One of the major positive effects of donating money to charity is simply feeling good about giving," Save The Children's website states. "Being able to give back to those in need helps you achieve a greater sense of personal satisfaction and growth. It feels good to help others."

As a former social worker and teacher, Connolly has been helping people her whole life. As a child, she volunteered with St. John Ambulance as a child. She also set up an AIDS helpline while she was a student in Belfast. 


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Now, as a multimillionaire from winning the lottery, Connolly is able to help others out even more.

She’s established two charitable foundations, one in her native Northern Ireland, named for her late mother, Kathleen Graham, and the PFC Trust, which supports refugees, the elderly, and young carers in her hometown. Connolly estimates that she’s given away 60 million pounds, or over 73 million dollars.

She also uses her newfound wealth to support local community groups that help job seekers and refugees and provide electronic tablets for the elderly so they can connect with their family members. 

As far as guidance for other lottery winners goes, Connolly had wise words to share. She stated that "if you're stupid before you get it, you're going to be stupid afterward.”


"If I had any advice for a winner,” she commented, “I'd say money liberates you to be the person that you want to be."

The person Connolly wants to be is clearly someone who believes in solidarity and charity, and helping her community.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.