An elderly Long Island cancer survivor and her daughter are splitting a $7 million jackpot, the New York Lottery announced.
Marilyn Looney, 82, and her daughter, 50-year-old Carol Prevete were presented an oversized check Tuesday at the Selden convenience store where they purchased the winning Golden Ticket scratch-off game, the lottery said.
The women are accepting lump-sum payments for the lottery, meaning each of them will take home about $2.3 million after taxes.
Prevete, who's a bookkeeper, says she and her mom have been pooling money for years to buy lottery tickets. Looney purchased the winning ticket as she looked to kill time because her hairstylist was running late, she said.
Walking with a cane and wearing dark sunglasses, Looney said she still can't believe what the store clerk told her when he scanned -- and rescanned -- the $25 ticket she bought July 3.
"He read it and said, 'My God, lady, you're a millionaire!'" Looney said. She said the clerk jumped nearly half a dozen feet in the air when he told her the news.
"I grabbed my cellphone, called my daughter and said, 'Get down here, we just won $7 million,'" Looney said.
Looney has survived two rounds of chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer and she is preparing to start a third cycle. Her husband of 57 years, Martin Looney, is in a nursing home. She went there to tell him about her good fortune.
"I said, 'I won $7 million,' and his face lit up and he started to cry,'" Looney said. "He was holding my hand and said I knew I married a winner when I picked you."
Looney said she plans to buy a home that she'll share with her daughter's family. Prevete and her husband have four children, including 13-year-old triplets.
"Three kids going into college at once? That's dumbfounding how to pay for that -- a big boulder off our shoulders," Prevete said.
Prevete said she plans to pay off her current mortgage "and be debt free."