The 53-year-old medical worker and mother of two who won the $758 million Powerball jackpot never thought she would be holding the winning ticket by choosing birthdays, random numbers, and her lucky number “4.”
“I was reading these numbers and I pull mine out and I go, ‘I have that … I have that … I have that.’,” said Powerball player Mavis Wanczyk, when she was announced as the jackpot winner, as reported by ABC News.
Wanczyk has already left her job at Mercy Medical Center. She said she needs time to think of what she wants to do with the money. She bought the ticket in Chicopee, Massachusetts, and chose the numbers 6, 7, 16, 23, 26, and Powerball 4.
“My number were kind of basically random, like maybe birthdays, maybe one from here, one from there,” said Wanczyk.
Wanczyk won the largest ever prize in North American lottery history for a single ticket. She had the choice between receiving 30 payments over 29 years, and retaining the full amount, or choosing a lump sum and collecting only $443 million. Wanczyk chose the lump sum. Lottery officials said nearly all winners choose the lump sum option.
Wanczyk faced incredible odds. People in 44 states, plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands were all eligible to participate in the drawing. Wanczyk’s odds for matching all six numbers were one in 292.2 million.
In addition to the jackpot, many other Powerball ticket holders won smaller prizes. There were 9,397,723 other players that won prizes of a combined total of $134,981,575. California had the most winners, with 1,172,477 people winning a prize of some amount.
She bought the winning ticket at Pride Station & Store in Chicopee. Lottery officials made an error when they initially announced the ticket was sold in Watertown, Massachusetts, at Handy Variety, but that was actually the site of a lesser prize winning.
Pride Station & Store is expected to receive $50,000 for selling the winning ticket. The owner of the chain of Pride stores, which operate in western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut, said he will donate all of the money to local charities.
“We’re happy for our customer and we’re happy for the charities we’re going to give our commission to,” said Pride owner Bob Bolduc, as NBC News reported. “They will all be local because we support all our local charities already. We will just be dividing it up between them.”
“We hope that they share it properly, also, because there’s a lot of needs in this area,” said Bolduc at a press conference in front of the location that sold the jackpot ticket, as Boston.com reported.
About 55,000 people live in Chicopee.