For the last six years Lorraine Daniels has endured sleepless nights looking after poorly daughter Lotus, who underwent a nine-and-a-half hour operation to have the right side of her brain removed.
But now, the only reason for Lorraine (41) to stay up late is to ponder how to spend her share of a £729,026 lottery win that will set her and six-year-old “miracle” Lotus up for life.
Her first purchase, though, will not be a Ferrari but a donation back to the community in Whittlesey which supported her in her time of need.
Last week’s share of the £2.187 million jackpot coincided with Lotus reaching two years without an epileptic fit thanks to her life-changing operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital, but due to her underdevelopment Lorraine has to sleep alongside her in case she falls out of bed and cannot call her.
So when the generous people of Whittlesey stumped up more than £3,000 for a Sleepsafe Bed to keep Lotus safe at night, Lorraine was understandably stunned.
Yet that shock paled into insignificance when her dad Derek (77) called last Thursday and told her to sit down.
“It was just before eight when dad called and my immediate thought was something had happened to mum, but all he said was ‘what are your lottery numbers’?” said Lorraine.
“To be honest I thought he was going potty but he told me to sit down and then said, ‘you’ve won the lottery’. Then it was me who went slightly potty.”
The family have played the lottery twice a week since Lotus was born, and the winning ticket was bought at Parkers News in Market Street. The winning numbers were a combination of Lotus’ birth date, baby weight, the number of the room she was born in and the day she was christened.
Lotus, who suffered with 300 seizures a day before her operation, is now doing much better and can look forward to moving with mum into a new home, while a holiday to Spain is also in the pipeline.
“This little nest egg is going to be fantastic for Lotus,” said Lorraine. “It does not feel real yet. It’s just knowing that I do not need to worry, that the money’s there. I’m that careful I went shopping at Aldi last Saturday!”
And as she awaits for Lotus’ new bed to arrive, Lorraine will not be forgetting the “amazing” Whittlesey community. She said: “I’m going to give an undisclosed amount to the Round Table to give to the people of Whittlesey.”
Derek, who spent 42 years working at Hotpoint and is now eyeing up a cruise and a new car, said: “We kept thinking about all the things that were now possible and how all out heartache and worry for Lotus’ future was over.”
And mum and daughter are not the only people thrilled with the big win. Lorraine added: “Lotus does not understand money, but she’s gone to school giggling today.”