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Lottery Ticket Honors Black Woman

By Wendell Hutson
Senior Contributing Writer

On July 11 Illinois made history when Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation that created the first scratch off lottery ticket named after a person and in this case someone Black.

Quinn said he signed Senate Bill 1279, which renamed the “Ticket for the Cure” lottery ticket to the “Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure,” because it provides funding for breast cancer research.

“Access to quality healthcare is a basic right, and Illinoisans – particularly those who are fighting cancer – should not be denied coverage for participating in trials that might save their lives,” he said. “It is important that Illinois takes the lead in increasing women’s access to new science that can save lives.”

Adams, who grew up in the Roseland community on the far South Side, was the superintendent of the Illinois Lottery from 2003 until her death at age 44 from breast cancer in 2007.

The bill also extends the legislation until December 31, 2016. Had the governor not signed the bill the ticket would have been discontinued at the end of the year.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, more than 8,700 Illinois women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, and more than 1,700 died as a result.

The bill was sponsored by state Sens. Mattie Hunter (D-3rd District) and Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th District), state Reps. Constance Howard (D-34th District) and Mary Flowers (D-31st District).

“It was important to get this legislation passed and signed because it honors a very positive African American woman,” explained Hunter. “This woman was committed to fighting breast cancer even during her own personally bout with it.”

Hunter admits that when she was working on the originally legislation in 2005 with the assistance of Adams, she did not know Adams herself was battling breast cancer.

“She would leave around noon for lunch but was really going to Northwestern Hospital for treatment,” recalls Hunter. “And even though she would show up to work the next day a little weak, I never suspected she had cancer."

Since its inception the Ticket for Cure has generated $8.5 million, according to Susan Hofer, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Lottery. The Illinois Lottery grossed $2.2 billion in sales in 2010, a slight increase from 2009 when it grossed $2.1 billion, according to state records. And in 2009 it paid $1.2 billion in winnings and $1.27 billion last year.

Much of the lottery revenue over the last two years came from sales generated in predominately Black communities on the South and West sides, based on a Crusader analysis of state records.

The 60619 ZIP code, which include the Greater Grand Crossing and Chat- ham communities, grossed $27.7 million in 2009 and $28.7 million in 2010. And the 60628 ZIP codes, which include the Roseland and West Pullman communities, grossed $21.4 million in 2009 and $21.7 million in 2010.
Other ZIP codes whose residents are predominately Black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, were popular included 60639 ZIP code had total sales of $20.1 million in 2009 and $20.9 million in 2010; 60617 did $19.2 million in 2009 and $19. 5 million in 2010; 60651, did $19.7 million and $20.8 million; 60647 did $18.3 million and $19.5 million; 60634 did $17.7 million and $18.9 million; 60609 $16. 3 million and $16.5 million; and 60636 did $15.6 million and $16.3 million.

And more lottery vendors did not add up to more sales either.

The 60619 ZIP code, which grossed the highest sales in the state, had 48 lottery vendors in 2009 and 46 in 2010. But the 60647 ZIP code had 61 vendors in 2009 and 64 in 2010 but grossed less in sales than other ZIP codes where there are fewer vendors, such as 60639, which has 51 and 60651, which has 38.

The Illinois Lottery was founded in 1974 with the goal of raising additional money to fund public schools. State records show that in 2009 and 2010 the Illinois Lottery paid $625 million into the Common School Fund, which is a state fund used to help finance public schools.

Unlike other lottery tickets where a portion goes to the Common School Fund, 100 percent of the proceeds from the Carolyn Adams Ticket go to fund breast cancer research. Money from the ticket is distributed to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which provide grants to private and non-profit organizations to fund research on breast cancer and to provide other services for breast cancer victims.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Crusader