Petoskey Woman Wins $25,000 a Year for Life Playing Michigan Lottery’s Lucky For Life Game

Irlene Gardner and her fiancee pose for a photo after collecting Gardner's first $25,000 payment.

Irlene Gardner and her fiancee pose for a photo after collecting Gardner’s first $25,000 payment.

A Petoskey woman can look forward to a lifetime of cash after winning $25,000 a year for life playing the Michigan Lottery’s Lucky For Life game.

Irlene Gardner matched the five white balls drawn on May 4 – 10-28-36-45-48 – to win the $25,000 a year for life prize. Gardner bought her winning ticket at the Meijer gas station, located at 2141 South U.S. 131 in Petoskey.

“We were stunned when we checked the ticket the next morning,” said Gardner while at Lottery headquarters with her fiancée. “We missed winning the game’s $1,000 a day for life top prize by just one number!”

Gardner and her fiancée recently welcomed a baby girl to their family, and discovered they were big winners during an early morning feeding.

“I was feeding my daughter about 5 the morning after the drawing and decided to check my ticket,” Gardner said. “For a minute I thought I was dreaming, I started yelling and woke my fiancée up. We both checked, and re-checked the ticket.

“Normally I put my daughter back to bed after she is done eating in the morning, but there was too much excitement to do that. We all stayed up and went to check the ticket at the Meijer gas station make sure we had a winner!”

The ticket scanner at the Meijer gas station confirmed the good news. The family hid the ticket in a jewelry box for safe keeping until heading to Lansing to collect their prize.

Gardner, 32, choose to receive payments of $25,000 annually for 20 years or for life, whichever is greater. She could have chosen a one-time lump sum cash payment of $390,000.

“I was planning to be a stay-at-home mother and this will take some of the financial pressure off our shoulders,” she said. “It’s just so comforting to know we will have this money coming every year.”

“It’s the best $2 investment we’ve ever made!” added Gardener’s fiancée.

Michigan players have won nearly $4.3 million so far playing Lucky For Life, including three $25,000 a year for life winners, and 21 $5,000 winners. Each Lucky For Life drawing is producing more than 15,000 winners on average in Michigan.

For just $2 per play, Lucky For Life gives Lottery players a chance to win prizes ranging from $3 to a lifetime of cash. To win the game’s top prize of $1,000 a day for life, players must match all five winning numbers ranging from 1 to 48, plus one Lucky Ball ranging from 1 to 18. Players who match all five winning numbers, but not the Lucky Ball, will win $25,000 a year for life. Lucky For Life drawings take place every Monday and Thursday at 10:35 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at Lottery retailers across the state.

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