KAORI Tanaka’s birthday surprise exceeded her expectations this week when she and husband Ben Marshall won $2.35 million in the MSWA Mega Home Lottery.
The Success couple were walking to dinner at Elizabeth Quay to celebrate her 34th birthday on Wednesday when they received phone calls about the win.
Mr Marshall’s former boss rang the geologist to say he had just seen their names on the news, asking if they won the $1.35 million Sorrento house and $1 million cash.
He turned to his wife, who had a look of shock on her face as she received a call that they had won the fully furnished Webb & Browne-Neaves home.
“Kaori got off the phone and told me that we had won the first prize in the lottery,” he said.
“I had no idea she’d even bought a ticket; we’ve never bought a Lotto ticket before, so it was a real shock, I had to pinch myself.”
“I didn’t tell Ben about the ticket because I didn’t think we’d win anything, so I didn’t bother to mention it to him,” Miss Tanaka said.
The win has turned their lives around – Mr Marshall is a qualified geologist but lost his job when the oil price fell two and a half years ago and has been working as a labourer since then.
“We’ve been scratching around to make ends meet,” he said.
“I even defaulted on a mortgage payment so I could buy a birthday present for Kaori and take her out to dinner.
“Now we’ve got a whole new perspective on what we can do with our lives. I might even go back to uni, there are just so many options.”
The couple are looking forward to moving into the luxury home and already have some ideas about what they will spend some of the million dollars on.
“We’d certainly like a European holiday, a puppy and a wedding,” Miss Tanaka said.
“We actually got married one and a half years ago but couldn’t afford to have a wedding; I just want to have a proper wedding function and to be able to tell everyone we’re married.”
As well as the $2.35 million grand prize, the MSWA Mega Home Lottery gave away more than 9000 prizes with a total prize pool worth over $5.5 million dollars, including an early bird prize of a $700,000 apg house and land package or $600,000 cash, cars, overseas holidays, adventure prizes and electronics.
“When I heard Ben and Kaori’s story I couldn’t think of a more deserving couple; it’s a prize that’s changed their lives forever and I wish them all the best for the future,” MSWA chief executive Marcus Stafford said.
“I’d like to thank them and everyone else who bought a ticket in the MSWA Mega Home Lottery because the money raised helps to change the lives of people with multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions.
“This year alone we’ve invested more than $2 million into research to help to find the cause and cure for MS and other neurological conditions.
“We’re spending $8 million to build a services and accommodation facility in Perth’s northern suburbs and recently opened a Bunbury facility that provides a range of services including nursing, physiotherapy and counselling.
“We’re also increasing the number of services we can provide to our members, their families and carers.”