Manalle Earnhardt of Salisbury, North Carolina, will get $1,000 A Day for the rest of her life thanks to her dad, who gave her a ticket that won the top prize in the Lucky For Life game.
The ticket made Earnhardt the first person in North Carolina to win the game’s top prize. It beat the odds of 1 in 30.8 million in the Thursday, Oct. 20 drawing to win $1,000 A Day For Life.
Earnhardt said her dad buys lottery tickets for her and her brother on a regular basis, but she never expected to win.
“He likes to play,” Earnhardt said. “He wants to see us enjoy playing as well. This is so surreal.”
Her dad owns The Crossroads on Bringle Ferry Road in Salisbury, but stopped by the Fast Stop on Andrews Street to get the $2 ticket.
Earnhardt found out she had a winning ticket when her dad called her the next morning.
“At first I thought something bad had happened,” Earnhardt said. “When you’re dead asleep, that’s the first thing you think.”
But then her dad told her to check her ticket.
“You look at those numbers and you’re not sure if you’re looking at them right,” Earnhardt said. “You think, ‘How can this be?’”
After learning she won, Earnhardt called her husband and then went to work at the VA Medical Center in Salisbury where she’s spent the last ten years as a nurse in the emergency room.
“It still didn’t seem real at that point,” Earnhardt said.
It started to when she claimed her prize on Wednesday. Earnhardt had the option of taking a lump sum of $5.75 million or the annuity prize of $365,000 a year. She chose the annuity, and received her first annual payment. After federal and state tax withholdings the win amounted to $252,763.
The prize is guaranteed for at least 20 years to the winner’s estate or heirs. That means Earnhardt, who just turned 39, will receive at least $7.28 million. The annuity payments will continue for the rest of her life, which means she could receive $10.9 million over thirty years or $14.6 million over forty years.
Even though she won the prize of a lifetime, she plans to work until retirement.
“I love what I do,” Earnhardt said. “I didn’t serve in the service, so this is my way of giving back to the veterans.”
While she plans to keep working, she said winning the top Lucky For Life prize is a big stress reliever.
“I don’t have to worry about retirement now,” Earnhardt said. “I don’t have to worry about college for my two boys, or all of these other things. It’s nice to know it’s taken care of.”
While all of these things are long term, Earnhardt plans to get a pool in the near future.
Jamil Isbanioly, Earnhardt’s dad, couldn’t be happier about the win.
“I’m so excited for her,” Isbanioly said. “This is the best thing to give to my kids and make them happy.”
To win the top Lucky For Life prize, the ticket matched all six numbers drawn. Players have 10 ways to win a prize playing the game. In the nine months since tickets went on sale in North Carolina, nine players have won the game’s second prize of $25,000 A Year For Life.
In all, 21 lotteries offer the Lucky For Life game. Drawings are held every Monday and Thursday night.
Ticket sales from games like Lucky For Life made it possible for the lottery to raise more than $634 million for the state last year. For details on how that money is benefiting all of the counties in North Carolina click on the “For Education” section of the lottery’s website.