Shawna Donnelly, a 50-year-old woman from Clarkston, Michigan, was reaching rock bottom.
“The last year has been the most difficult of my life,” she explained. “I’ve been taking care of my mom full-time, and it’s hard to make ends meet.”
Her financial situation was dire—and unable to pay her bills, she would soon be facing homelessness.
There seemed to be no hope in sight. But like many people dreaming of a better life, she took a chance on the lottery.
Recently, Donnelly pulled into her local 7-Eleven and bought a ticket for the Michigan Lottery’s Lucky For Life drawing—a game whose prizes range from $3 to $1,000 a day for life.
She was feeling lucky. For two bucks, she played her numbers, got her ticket and headed home.
The winning numbers were drawn on January 15. Donnelly didn’t see them—until late at night, she felt a calling.
“I woke up in the middle of the night and had a feeling I should check my tickets,” Donnelly recalled.
So, she went to the site on her phone—and was stunned when she read the numbers: 11-15-32-33-40.
She matched five numbers—enough to win cash for life!
Donnelly was in disbelief:
“When I saw I matched five numbers, I must have refreshed my phone 100 times to make sure I really won!”
She matched all five numbers without getting the “lucky ball,” which meant that while she wouldn’t win the top prize of $1,000 a day, she would win $25,000 a year for life.
But when she collected her winnings at lottery headquarters, she opted instead for a one-time sum.
She walked away with $390,000—life-changing money for the near-homeless woman.
“Winning this prize couldn’t have come at a better time,” she said in a statement to the Michigan Lottery.
She says she will use the money on a new home and car, but will save the rest. Hopefully she won’t have to worry about money for a long, long time.