A North Carolina man who survived COVID-19 after battling the virus for seven long weeks last year has won a $1-million lottery prize.

Donalise Stewart, of Timberlake, a grandfather of six, reportedly bought the winning $10 Platinum 7s scratch-off ticket at the Timberlake Mart on Durham Road in Timberlake while he was returning home from work on Wednesday, Dec. 8, FOX 8 reported.

“One year ago, I was in the hospital with COVID-19,” Stewart said. “I was in the hospital for seven weeks. Now, a year later, here I am. To almost losing my life to true blessings.”

Stewart said that he doesn't know what made him stop at the store on the day of his lucky win. He explained that he decided to play the winning numbers 1-2-2-4 because his grandmother passed away on Dec. 24 last year.

“I don’t know what made me stop,” he said. “I was feeling a bit down, thinking about 1-2-2-4 because my grandmother passed on Dec. 24, so I decided to play them. I was about to walk out the door when someone stopped me and asked if I was going to buy scratch-offs. Next thing I know, I am on my knees…overwhelmed.”

Stewart said that he spent 15 minutes at the store “jumping for joy” when he realized that he had won the $1 million lottery prize.

“I always wondered how I would react if I won,” Stewart said. “Nothing prepares you for that feeling. I did not expect that. All I can say is that dreams do come true.”

Stewart collected his winning prize money at the lottery headquarters located in Raleigh on Thursday, Dec. 9. Stewart had the option of taking $50,000 a year for 20 years or a lump sum of $600,000. Stewart chose the lump sum and took home $424,503 after required federal and state tax withholdings, MSN reported.

When asked about what he plans to do with the money, Stewart said that he intends to use it to cover medical expenses and invest some amount in buying some land.

“COVID-19 messed me up. This will help take the pressure off with medical bills. We’ll save and invest some. Maybe buy some land,” he said.

425 Million Jackpot Draws Hopeful Lottery Ticket Buyers
The Mega Millions Jackpot has risen to at least $75 million ahead of the drawing to be held on late Tuesday, Feb. 22. This is a representational image. UNSPLASH

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