A North Carolina grandfather of six won a big lottery prize a year after he was hospitalized with COVID-19.
Donalise Stewart from Timberlake said he doesn’t know what made him stop and buy lottery tickets on his way home from work on Wednesday, Dec. 8, according to a news release from the North Carolina Education Lottery.
“I was feeling a bit down, thinking about 1-2-2-4 because my grandmother passed on Dec. 24, so I decided to play them,” Stewart, a warehouse worker, told lottery officials. “I was about to walk out the door when someone stopped me and asked if I was going to buy scratch-offs. Next thing I know I am on my knees – just overwhelmed.”
Stewart decided to buy a $10 “Platinum 7s” scratch-off ticket from the Timberlake Mart on Durham Road.
He told lottery officials he spent 15 minutes “jumping for joy” in the store when he realized he won a $1 million prize.
“I always wondered how I would react if I won,” Stewart said, according to the lottery. “Nothing prepares you for that feeling. I did not expect that. All I can say is that dreams do come true.”
He told lottery officials that the win comes a year after he spent weeks in the hospital with COVID-19.
“To think about it, one year ago I was in the hospital with COVID-19,” Stewart said, according to the lottery. “I was in the hospital for seven weeks. Now, a year later, here I am. To almost losing my life to true blessings.”
Stewart collected his winnings Thursday, Dec. 9, and chose to take the prize as a lump sum of $600,000, the lottery said. He took home $424,503 after taxes and said the money will “come in handy.”
“COVID-19 messed me up,” he told lottery officials “This will help take the pressure off with medical bills. We’ll save and invest some, maybe buy some land.”