Winnings From $1M Scratcher To Be Used For Toddler’s Spina Bifida Treatments

MISSION VIEJO (CBSLA.com) — When Valente Hernandez discovered his “California Gold” Scratcher was worth $1 million, all he could think about was his son.

The proud father’s 18-month-old son, Valente Jr., was born with spina bifida, a developmental congenital disorder caused by an incomplete embryonic neural tube, and hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling.

The Santa Ana resident purchased the winning ticket at Crown Valley 76, 26411 Crown Valley Parkway, in Mission Viejo — the gas station where he works nights. Hernadez took the job so that he would be able to take his son to physical therapy during the day.

“My main thing is to trying to get better therapy for him, so he can get better. I know probably not a 100 percent, but better,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez was leaving work Sunday and was running low on gas. He was planning to use the $30 in his wallet to fill his tank, but then used $10 to buy the scratcher.

“It was just that feeling that just said buy it, you know?” Hernandez said.

Besides using the money for his son’s therapy, Hernandez says his family’s plans for the money include a small house and a modest car — and maybe one splurge.

“We’ll have to go for vacation or something,” Hernandez said with a grin.

Hernandez’s boss says a vacation is already approved.

“It’s approved, it’s big time approved. He deserves it, Valente’s a good man,” his boss said.

Crown Valley 76 will also collect some winnings – a bonus of a half a percent or $5,000 – for selling the prize-winning ticket.

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