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Woman hits jackpot with birthday ticket

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WINNIPEG—It was a day of many happy returns for a Manitoba woman who won $1 million on a ticket her parents had purchased for her birthday.

And it was certainly a big surprise for Melanie Chaput, 29, who didn’t even know the winning grand-prize ticket in a Winnipeg hospital’s fundraising lottery was in her name.

“This is unreal,” said Chaput, 29, who was sick in bed at the time of the draw Wednesday.

But then the X-ray and MRI technician’s phone started ringing off the hook.

“I wasn’t answering the phone,” she said. “After the sixth person tried calling me, I figured something was wrong and answered it.

‘They told me my name was picked and I said, ‘That’s impossible. I didn’t buy a ticket.’”

Then she learned her parents had purchased a $100 ticket and she realized the call was for real.

“They always buy tickets and put my brother’s and my name on it, and never tell us,” said Chaput.

All she’d won until now, though, was $50 in a hockey pool her dad entered her in.

Chaput works at St. Boniface Hospital, which was holding the lottery.

The single woman, who says she loves her job, plans to return to work when she feels better.

She doesn’t have any big plans or dreams for spending a million dollars. Chaput already owns her own home and said the Toyota Corolla she has just paid off suits her fine.

“Maybe I’ll take a week off. I’m going to pay off my Visa,” she noted.

She also wants to make sure her mom and dad have enough money as they approach retirement.

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