Generous Powerball Winners Paul and Sue Rosenau

Winning a lottery jackpot is usually an emotional journey. From the quickening of your heart as you see more numbers being matched to the sheer joy of knowing that you are a winner, it is a truly unique life experience. However, there is something that could make the experience even more emotional—knowing that there is a reason for the win. In this article, we will look at generous Powerball winners Paul and Sue Rosenau and what they have done with their record jackpot win.

Who Are Paul and Sue Rosenau?

Paul and Sue Rosenau (both 54 years old at the time) were your average couple who worked hard all their lives for what they had. Paul worked as a heavy machinery operator, and Sue worked for an agricultural research institute. Paul admitted that he only ever played the lottery about once a month. When asked why he played the lottery, he answered that he enjoyed the fact that it allowed him to dream about what he would do with the money if he ever won.

Powerball Winners Paul and Sue Rosenau Holding Oversized CheckThe Winning Ticket

After purchasing a quick pick ticket for the record jackpot of $180.1 million offered by the US Powerball on May 3, 2008, Paul and Sue did not think anything of it when the draw came on the screen while they were watching TV. Paul, however, recounts going upstairs to fetch his ticket as they started to draw the numbers. As they were drawn, Sue called out the numbers for him to check on the ticket as he made his way back into the living room.

By the time Sue called out the Powerball number (40), Paul said to her that they may have just won the jackpot. Sue, who had been tricked exactly like this in the past when Paul was just teasing her, thought nothing of it until he insisted that they had won. Unfortunately, the two did not have any Internet access at home and could not confirm it, so they promptly climbed into their car and drove to Sue’s work to check the winning numbers online—and discovered that they had just won $180.1 million.

The next morning, after again checking that they were indeed the winners by confirming the numbers in the local paper, Paul immediately called his friend and accountant Dale. Dale assisted the couple quickly in claiming their prize and ensuring that they were not conned in any way by the many people who would inevitably attempt to offer them financial advice. Weighing the annuity payments vs. one lump sum payment, the couple decided to go for the lump sum of $88 million before tax.

An Emotional Day

You may think that winning a sum of $180.1 million is enough to get the tears rolling. However, for Paul and Sue, it was something entirely different that made them so emotional about the win. This was because precisely five years prior, on the same day that they won their jackpot, the couple lost a grandchild.

Their granddaughter, Makayla, died at just two years and two months of age from a disease known as Krabbe disease. The condition is classified as a nervous system disorder and, as in the case of their granddaughter, can be fatal.

Lottery Winners Paul and Sue Rosenau With Granddaughter MakaylaA Legacy of Angels

Paul and Sue quickly knew what they wanted to do with the money that they had won and soon founded the Legacy of Angels Foundation. While the couple had previously already been involved in trying to get Krabbe screening instituted as part of a standard screening protocol for new babies, the generous winners founded Legacy of Angels to aid research into and the treatment of Krabbe disease in babies.

Through their efforts, there has been fantastic work done in the fight against Krabbe disease, and Paul is confident that they are only a few short years away from finding a cure for the disability. In addition to searching for a cure for Krabbe disease, the foundation has also begun funding the research into the treatment of cystic fibrosis.

What Next?

After forming the Legacy of Angels Foundation, the two lottery winners remained content in their normal lives. When asked, they stated that they had always had what they needed and that they did not really need anything else. In fact, the only two luxuries that they afforded to themselves was a long-dreamt-of trip to Hawaii and a family trip to Disneyland with their three children and grandchild. The couple have made it abundantly clear that they would rather spend their lottery winnings on the betterment of many others than the improvement of their own living.


While many of us may get emotional because of how a lottery win would change our lives, Paul and Sue saw a completely different side to their tremendous luck. While they still mourn the loss of their granddaughter, the two used their lottery win to make a change in the lives of countless others and even today help fight against the disease that took their grandchild from them. They truly are a couple to look to when it comes to responsibly handling a jackpot win and, as such, are people that we are happy to admit we admire.

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