A Sanford couple woke up more than a million dollars richer on Friday.
Arthur and Helen Hemby of Sanford bought a $1 Carolina Cash 5 ticket at the Circle K on Hawkins Avenue and hit the jackpot for $1,184,357, the second-largest prize ever won by a single Cash 5 ticket.
The lucky ticket matched all five numbers drawn, 4-6-9-16-22, beating odds of 1 in 749,398.
Arthur Hemby decided to check his ticket early Friday morning. When he realized he matched all five numbers he rushed upstairs to tell his wife.
“He woke me up at 4:30 in the morning,” Helen Hemby said. “I didn’t believe it at first. I kept asking, ‘Are you sure?’”
“I told her I had checked the numbers 100 times and then told her how much we won,” Arthur Hemby said.
“I started crying,” she added.
The couple claimed the jackpot Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After required state and federal withholdings, they received a check for $823,140. They plan to use some the money to help their daughter recover from Hurricane Matthew.
“Our daughter lost her house and had to live in a motel for nine months,” Arthur Hemby said.
The couple also plans to pay a tithe to their church and set up a college account for their great-grandson.
As the jackpot grew over the course of 13 drawings, players won a total of $1.9 million in prizes including the jackpot. Sales for those drawings also generated an estimated $1.4 million for education.
The biggest single-ticket win in the game’s history came two months ago when 17 family members from the Hickory area claimed the $1.7 million jackpot they won in the June 3 drawing.
Heading into the weekend, the Mega Millions jackpot for Friday’s drawing had been raised to a $393 million annuity worth $246.5 million cash. The Powerball jackpot climbed to a $356 million annuity worth $224 million cash.
Ticket sales make it possible for the Lottery to raise more than a half-billion dollars a year for education. To see how the funds support specific programs in every county, visit nclottery.com and click on the “For Education” page.