For Gina Short of Mecklenburg County, winning $1 million in the first Ultimate Millions second-chance drawing means a fresh start as she continues her fight against breast cancer.
Short fell to the floor in excitement when she found out she won the grand prize in Wednesday’s drawing. She said winning the prize means a lot to her because of her cancer diagnosis six years ago.
“I have a second chance,” Short said. “That’s what my whole life is about, second chances.”
Short’s entry was drawn from more than 1.2 million entries in the drawing and she learned of the win during a visit to the lottery’s Charlotte regional office. She said she had a hard time believing her good luck.
“If you would have told me, in a million years I still wouldn’t have believed you,” Short said. “I would have said, ‘No you’ve got the wrong girl,’ because that’s what I said to them when they told me I had cancer, ‘No you’ve got the wrong girl.’”
Short claimed her prize with her husband, Len, by her side. She says he has been her unfailing support during surgery and treatments.
“I might have gone through the breast cancer, but this is the guy that told me not to run,” Short said. “I wanted to give up, but he would not let me give up.”
And while Short faces additional cancer treatments, she says this prize is going to help her to “truly live.”
Short had the choice of taking a $1 million annuity that has 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. She chose the lump sum payment and after federal and state tax withholdings received $415,500.
Short won the first of three $1 million prizes in second-chance drawings associated with the Ultimate Millions game. The drawing also awarded ten prizes of $5,000 and 25 prizes of $500. The game started in September with four $10 million top prizes and 18 prizes of $1 million that can be won instantly.
Ticket sales from games like Ultimate Millions made it possible for the lottery to raise more than half a billion dollars for the state last year. For details on how $352 million in lottery funds have made a difference in Mecklenburg County, click on the “For Education” section of the lottery’s website.