September 25, 2000
Internet winner values making a difference
by Deborah Stone
The number two seems to come up frequently in Mary Johnston's life. This Kenmore resident has two sons, works for two companies and has had two unfortunate car accidents happen to her family in the last year.
She can now add to this collection the sum of two million dollars.
Johnston recently became iWon.com's first million-dollar double winner after entering in the Web site's contest for prizes.
She says, "I first discovered iWon last October when I was looking for a search engine to put my web site on for one of my businesses. It looked like a good site and I started logging on to get my news each day. I knew it had contests, but I never thought I would win. The most I've ever won in my life was $100 on a radio show, so when I heard that I had won two million dollars, I was in a state of shock and disbelief!"
According to Johnston, having all this money won't change her in any way. She considers herself a T-shirt-and-jeans gal who enjoys her family life and stay-at-home businesses (interior design and health supplements sales).
"I'm not a flashy person," comments Johnston. "My life is simple and I like to keep it that way. I drive a used car that I like and I have no desire to get a new one. I'm just not a big spender."
Johnston does, however, have some plans for this sudden windfall and they include helping to make a difference in other people's lives. She explains, "I have always tried to give a little money each year to certain charities and over the years, I have kept a list of various causes that have been important to me. Some, I have been able to donate to and others I haven't been able to give any money to because of financial constraints. Now I feel like I can really make a difference in a bigger way. I want to help out others who are less fortunate than myself and if I manage the money well, I will be able to donate to charities the rest of my life."
Johnston is particularly interested in environmental issues, AIDS research, Habitat for Humanity and helping underprivileged children.
The money will also provide security for her family and allow her children to attend the colleges of their choice when they grow up. "It's an incredible fairy tale and dream come true," says Johnston. "It's just hard to believe it happened to me!"