The winner of the $758.7 million Powerball lottery came forward on Thursday.
Mavis Wanczyk, 53, of Chicopee, Massachusetts, is the sole winner of the grand prize.
At a press conference, Wanczyk said she recalled thinking, “It’s never gonna be me.” She added: “It’s just a pipe dream I’ve always had.”
Wanczyk said she’s already informed her employer of 32 years, Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, that she won’t be coming back to work. “The first thing I want to do is, I just want to sit back and relax,” she said.
The prize is the second largest in the lottery’s history, bested only by last year’s $1.586-billion prize split between three winning tickets. It is the largest grand prize won by a single lottery ticket in U.S. history, according to Powerball Product Group Chair Charlie McIntyre.
Wanczyk was leaving work with a colleague Wednesday night when she realized she possessed the winning ticket.
“I couldn’t drive anywhere. I couldn’t do anything. He followed me to make sure I was safely home,” she said of her colleague.
The winning numbers drawn Wednesday night were: 6, 7, 16, 23, 26, and the Powerball number was 4. The odds of selecting those winning numbers were about 1 in 292 million. The winning numbers were selected after 20 drawings in recent weeks failed to yield a winner, building up intense anticipation.
Wanczyk, the mother of a grown son and daughter, purchased her winning ticket at the Pride Station & Store in Chicopee and chose some of the numbers based on family members’ birthdays. She selected the Powerball number 4 based on a weekly family tradition.
“There’s a thing between me and my mom and my stepfather and I have a friend, we all go out to dinner on a Friday night and we play Keno, and our number is four,” she said.
The store’s owner, Bob Bolduc, said Thursday he will donate the $50,000 prize he receives for selling the ticket to local children’s charities.
Like most Powerball winners, Wanczyk chose to take a lump-sum payment of $480 million, with a net of $336 million after taxes. Winners also have the option of 30 payments, after taxes, over the course of 29 years.
This article has been updated with information on when Wanczyk realized she had won the lottery.