|For Immediate Release||Contact: Mike Lang 217-524-5158|
PEORIA, IL—March 7, 2012—Winning $1million on an Illinois Lottery instant ticket is going to make a huge difference in the quality of life for the family of Michael Lewis of Peoria Heights. Thanks to the win, Lewis’ wife of 23 years, Sue, should now be able to take a medical leave of absence from her insurance job, and devote her time and energy to the battle she is waging against breast cancer. In addition, the win will allow Lewis to pay off the college debt of his daughter, Stephanie, who will graduate in May with a psychology degree from Blackburn College.
When asked what else he might do with the winnings, Lewis, 51, mentions paying off bills--both existing and future. His soon-to-graduate, 21-year-old daughter is planning a December 2013 wedding that will be even more joyous, thanks to the Lottery win. Helping his wife secure a medical-leave from her job is what Lewis is most excited about. “Winning the Lottery is making our plans for the future become a reality, especially as it relates to Sue’s cancer treatments and surgery,” said Lewis. “We feel very good about the future.”
Lewis has long worked at Pal Automotive in Peoria Heights, an auto repair shop started by his parents more than 35 years ago. Lewis’ mom, Harriet, still works as the company’s bookkeeper, while Lewis is the head repair technician.
Lewis received an oversized, ceremonial check today from Illinois Lottery Supt Michael Jones, who greeted Lewis at the Peoria store that sold the winning ticket. “All Lottery winner stories are compelling, but some warm the heart,” said Jones. “Michael Lewis’ story is both compelling and heart-warming. We wish him and his family all the best.”
The check presentation occurred at the winning retail location, Tira Oil, 3606 N. Prospect in Peoria. Tira Oil owner Mohammad Mizyed gratefully accepted a ceremonial check from Jones for $10,000, the Lottery bonus awarded to stores that sell a $1million winner.
In claiming one of the top prizes in the Cash Spectacular instant game, Lewis opted for a one-time payment of $600,000 (rather than 20 annual payment of $50,000). He will receive his check in about three weeks. There are still 16 unclaimed $1million prizes in $10 Cash Spectacular. The overall odds of winning a prize in Cash Spectacular are 1:3.46; the odds of winning a $1million prize are 1:1,056,000.
About Illinois Lottery
Since its inception in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed more than $17 billion to the state’s Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as $120 million to the Capital Projects Fund and other worthy causes. Players must be at least 18 years old. More information is available at illinoislottery.com