‘You just made my entire life.’ Retired Wake teacher wins $1 million in NC lottery

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Teresa Saunders was shopping for her granddaughter’s sweet 16 birthday party this week when she answered her phone and was told that she won $1 million in a North Carolina lottery game.

She was skeptical but hopeful during the Wednesday phone call.

“Wow,” said Saunders, a retired literacy coach with the Wake County Public School System. “I hope it is really, really, really true.”

“I promise you that it is,” a woman from the North Carolina Education Lottery said, according to recording of the phone call.

“If it’s true, you just made my entire life as happy as can be,” Saunders said.

Saunders’ entry into the Millionaire Maker Second-Chance drawing was chosen from more than 1.3 million entries. She chose to take a one-time payment of $600,000 compared to 20 payments of $50,000 a year. She took home $424,500 after required tax withholdings.

After the phone call, Saunders rushed to her Rolesville home, fixed a glass of champagne and sat on the porch until 9:30 p.m., she told lottery officials, according to a news release.

She claimed her winnings the next day. Saunders plans to take a trip to Wyoming, enjoy a comfortable retirement and help her children and grandchildren, she told lottery officials.

“It’s a comfortable feeling,” she said.

Gambling is designed to be a source of entertainment. If you or a loved one shows signs of gambling addiction, you can seek help by calling the national gambling hotline at 1-800-522-4700 or visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling website.