“Being a self-employed carpenter, I didn’t really have a plan for retirement… “The money will help with that . . . I’ll buy a new truck, pay off some debt and invest for the future,” he said in an interview with the Lottery. It was a future he believed to be long, prosperous, and filled with hope.
Savastano Could Finally Afford An Overdue Appointment
But most importantly, he was finally going to able to see a doctor, a modest need that many believe should be an unalienable right in this country. But for Donald Savastano, it would take winning the lottery to get the medical attention he desperately needed for some time.
“He didn’t have insurance, he hadn’t been feeling good for a while, I guess, and when he got the money he went into the doctor,” Danielle Scott, a clerk at the store in which Savastano had purchased his winning scratcher, told ABC News.
It was Simply Too Little, Too Late
“This is going change our lives, to tell you the truth,” Donald said as he retrieved his winnings. Little did Donald know that it would not; that it could not. It may have been one million dollars, an amount of money that most of us believe could change everything for us, but it was still too little, too late.
With a new lease on life and a lump sum of $661,800 in the bank, Donald learned that he had stage 4 brain and lung cancer.
High Hopes were Not Enough
“I was hoping that the money was maybe going to save his life,” Scott told ABC News. She had hope for Donald Savastano. On December 9th, 2017, when Donald stopped at a gas station on his way home from work, I imagine he held onto the same hope we all do when we purchase a lottery ticket.
It’s the same naive hope that leads us to believe that, if we just do things right and work hard in life, we will be taken care of and things will turn out alright. But that’s not the case for so many Americans, and sadly, it was not the case for Donald Savastano.
Their Time is in Our Hands
Danielle Scott told ABC News, “He was a good person. He deserved it. I just wish he had more time with it.”
While nothing can bring Donald Savastano back, we have the ability to prevent his tragic story from repeating indefinitely. It’s time to realize that healthcare is not a partisan issue; it’s not even a political one. It’s a human issue. It’s a human right. And while it may have been too late for Donald Savastano to change his fate, it’s still not too late for us to change ours.