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Florida Lottery players winning big in Broward

Tara Tuttle won the lottery — and that wasn’t even the best thing that happened to her Wednesday.

The 35-year-old Coral Springs woman had just found out that her partner of seven years, Cary Tullos, did not have breast cancer after days of waiting for test results.

“That was the best day of my life,” she said Sunday.

It got better. That night, she bought a Billion Dollar Blockbuster scratch-off ticket at Publix in Coral Springs while Tullos, 37, ran into the store for some conditioner.

The prize: $10 million.

“You not having breast cancer means far more to me than this,” Tuttle remembers saying to Tullos, whom she considers her wife. “This is just a gift.”

Tuttle and Tullos, who are domestic partners, and their two children drove to the Florida Lottery headquarters in Tallahassee Friday to claim the $6.5 million lump sum.

The next day, Broward’s luck continued: The Florida Lottery said the $4 million winning ticket from Saturday’s Lotto drawing was purchased in Davie. The store that sold the ticket with winning numbers 5, 12, 21, 24, 51 and 53: The Publix supermarket at 8842 W. State Road 84.

Also Saturday, one of the five winning Fantasy 5 tickets — payoff $53,022.46 — was purchased at the Winn-Dixie supermarket at 1515 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd. in Hallandale Beach. The other winning tickets were sold in Bradenton, Winter Park, and two in Tampa.

The names of Saturday’s winners have not been announced.

On Sunday, Tuttle, a talent scout, was still adjusting to being known as a lottery winner — and the attention that came with it.

She told the Florida Lottery that she wants to use some of the winnings to help people affected with cancer; she said Sunday in a telephone interview that she was also interested in helping those with a neurological disorder called Chiari malformation, which affects a family member.

“I’m the girl that always gives money in the grocery line,” she said. “Feed whoever you need to feed.”

Tuttle said that she has always been a big believer in positive thinking. In fact, she had bought another scratch-off ticket earlier and didn’t win, but carried it around with her for a month and a half and occasionally joked around with her family about what would happen if they won.

“We were blessed before,” she said. “I already felt like a millionaire.”