Kelsey Zachow will never forget the heart-pounding adrenaline rush she felt when she learned she had won a $66 million Mega Millions jackpot.
“I started playing the Lottery because of the chance to win millions. I always dreamed about winning and what I would do with the money, and now that dream is a reality,” Zachow said.
Ironically, Zachow, of Port Huron, won her jackpot last month on what many consider the unluckiest of days: Friday the 13th.
Zachow walked into Sonny’s Mart, located at 12 Market Street in Mount Clemens, and bought five Mega Millions plays. Her fifth number, an easy pick, matched the Mega Millions numbers drawn that evening – 07-38-46-49-56 and the Gold Mega Ball: 01 – to win the $66 million jackpot from the Michigan Lottery.
Zachow elected to receive her jackpot as a one-time lump sum cash payment of nearly $38 million, and will take home nearly $27 million after taxes.
The 24-year-old Zachow didn’t know she was the big jackpot winner until 10 days after the drawing. She had accumulated several tickets in her purse and visited a Lottery retailer to scan them and see what she had won.
“When the clerk at the store told me I had a big winner I was positive that he was mistaken,” said Zachow. “There was a long line in the store behind me, so I decided to leave and looked the numbers up on MichiganLottery.com when I got into my car. That’s when I realized I had won the jackpot and could barely breathe.”
After a tense drive home, Zachow ran into her house and screamed for her boyfriend.
“I was screaming ‘I won! I won!’ at the top of my lungs and he came running into the room,” said Zachow. “I was yelling so much that he thought I had been in a car accident or hit someone on my way home. I told him I had a $66 million ticket in my hand and he didn’t believe me. He finally looked at the ticket and couldn’t believe his eyes.”
After sharing the good news with a few close friends and family members, Zachow locked the ticket in a safe, then began to make plans. The next few weeks were busy for the new millionaire as she met with financial planners and a lawyer to get ready to collect her big prize.
With her winnings, she plans to purchase a new home, take a vacation to Europe, and help family members. She also is planning to establish college funds for several of her young family members.
After things begin to settle down for Zachow, she plans to focus on spending time with her family and building a financial foundation that will help her family into the future.
For now, she’s going to take time to adjust to her new wealth. For example, Zachow has long dreamed of owning a Ford Mustang convertible, but is in no hurry to visit a dealership to make a purchase.
“I have always wanted an electric blue Ford Mustang, and one day I will get one, but helping my family live comfortably comes first for me,” Zachow said.
Mega Millions drawings take place each Tuesday and Friday evening. Each Mega Millions play is only $1. For an additional $1 per play, players have the opportunity to add a “Megaplier” that can multiply non-jackpot prizes by up to five times. Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot is $87 million.