Patricia and her husband Joe spent $5 on tickets at Nick’s Barbecue after stopping for some steak sandwiches, and later checked their numbers after hearing on the radio that the huge jackpot had been won. “It was an out-of-body experience when I saw all those numbers that matched,” said Patricia about the ‘surreal’ moment, whilst also revealing that she only played Illinois Lottery games when the jackpots were large.
Unlike Mavis Wanczyk, the Massachusetts woman who won a massive $758.7 million Powerball jackpot last Wednesday and came forward the next day, Patricia left it a couple of weeks so she could speak to her family and consult with professional financial advisers.
She has decided to take the one-off cash payment of $246 million rather than the annuity option, and wants to support a number of charitable projects as well as share the money with family and friends. Speaking about how her life has changed, Patricia said: “The last two weeks have been a whirlwind. We’ve been overwhelmed. It’s amazing to think how lucky we were to be in the right place at the right time.”
The prize won by Patricia as the fifth-largest jackpot in Mega Millions history, and the biggest since a family from Hamilton County in Indiana won $536 million on 8th July 2016. Nick’s Barbecue will also receive a $500,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
The Mega Millions jackpot has rolled over four times since it was won by the Buskings and will now stand at $45 million ahead of Tuesday night’s draw. Players can buy tickets from authorised retailers in participating states, while numbers can also be chosen online.