Marine Cpl. Alexander Degenhardt volunteered to become a bone marrow donor for an anonymous patient because that’s just the kind of guy he is. The 26 year old who, just a few days after learning he’d been accepted into the bone marrow donor program, hit a $2.9 million jackpot while playing the progressive slots in Las Vegas.
The young Marine and some of his buddies had come to Las Vegas from Washington D.C. where they are stationed to attend a week long training program at Nelles Air Force Base. With some time on his hands before his return flight would depart, Degenhardt decided to play the penny slots at the Bellagio. The machine accepts bets between 40 cents and $2. Just ten minutes after he started, Degenhardt hit the jackpot, literally.
Thinking he would lose $100 quickly, he was instead overwhelmed by his turn of fortune. When asked, if in light of his win, he would still go through the bone marrow donation, given the amount of pain it’s said to cause, Degenhardt responded that a little pain was worth saving someone’s life. He feels the jackpot was good karma for taking part in the donor program.
He still needs to undergo about six months of extensive testing but afterwards, plans to continue his military career with the Marines.
The family-oriented young man plans to use the first disbursement – he will get about $100,000 each year for 20 years – to help his sister who is expecting a child and to help his mom catch up on her bills.
How did Degenhardt indulge after winning the jackpot? He treated himself to some clothing at the same thrift store he always shops at. He doesn’t intend to replace his car just yet either, even though it has more than 250,000 miles on it. The thrift-conscious soldier says there no sense wasting money and that he’ll keep driving his vehicle until he no longer can.
As for the jackpot, it is the second highest payout for Bally, the company who makes the Bally Technologies’ Money Vault machine and oversees the payouts.