November 20, 2018

Thanks to friend’s text, Iowa woman finds forgotten $343.9M Powerball ticket

07 November 2018, 08:16 | Hattie Nash

Lerynne West shows off her big new check on Monday

Iowa single mother identified as one of two Powerball winners decides to take $198 million cash option

She split the prize with a second winning ticket in NY.

The day after the drawing, West got a text from a friend, asking if she had won the jackpot.

The win was a shock to the single mum, who struggled to persuade her three daughters and other relatives that it was for real.

The ticket owned by Leryanne West of Redfield, Iowa, is worth $343.9 million in 20 annuity payments, or $198.1 million in a lump sum. "I also plan to give to the causes and organizations important to my family through our newly established Callum Foundation", she said.

Casey's General Store, where West bought the ticket, will receive a $10,000 prize from the Iowa Lottery. She worked full time and took night and weekend classes to earn her bachelor degree in human resources from Upper Iowa University.

"I know the responsibility that I have to do good with this money, and my life has changed forever", she said in between tears Monday.

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The Iowa Lottery held the conference at its Clive headquarters, where Lerynne West explained what led up to her buying the ticket and how she found out she was a victor. "I played the lottery twice a week, when I had the money to do it", she said.

West, who has been working since she was a teenager - even spending her high school days in the local corn and soybean fields - said she'll definitely use a portion of her winnings on some much-needed R&R.

The Callum Foundation is named for her grandson Callum, who died after just one day when he was born prematurely. She then entered her numbers into the Iowa Lottery website only to find that nothing matched. She bought a ticket for the drawing and accidentally left it in her sister's truck.

The New York victor purchased their ticket at a bodega in West Harlem.

She had always dreamed of hitting it big, but never took the thought seriously.

Ms West said "nobody believed" she had won initially.

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She recalled during the press conference, "I put those numbers into the".

West says that is a place of humble beginnings.

The single mum will set up a foundation for people to seek financial help. "He was born at 24 weeks and he lived for one day", she said.

After starting a new position at a healthcare insurance company in September, West, 51, resigned just one month later - because she won the Powerball.

She plans to buy a new house and replace her vehicle, a Ford Fiesta with 142,000 miles (228,500 kilometres) "that people have beat up". "It's got 142,000 miles on it and I'm going to get a auto big enough that I can take all my grandkids places in", West said.

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