AM surprise: Michigan man wins Lucky for Life

"It was hard to believe!” the winner said.

AM surprise: Michigan man wins Lucky for Life
Heilig's winning Lucky for Life ticket. Photograph credit to the Michigan Lottery.

A lucky twist of fate in the wee hours of the morning transformed Donald Heilig's life.

The 69-year-old Macomb County resident woke up at 2:30 a.m. on May 6th and decided to check his Lucky for Life ticket. What he saw was unbelievable: a match of all five white balls, securing him a staggering $25,000 a year for life!

Heilig, a regular Lottery player who usually favors Daily 4, had a spontaneous urge to try Lucky for Life on April 19th. 

He said:

I play lottery regularly, usually Daily 4, but on April 19th I decided to try Lucky for Life. I woke up at 2:30 a.m. and pulled up the winning numbers before I laid back down. It really was hard to know if I was dreaming or if I had really won big because it was the middle of the night!

The win was so unbelievable that he needed his wife to double-check the ticket. Heilig recalled:

The next morning, I had my wife look at the ticket to make sure I had really won. We must have checked the ticket at least 10 times before we came to claim the prize.

Instead of opting for annual payments, Heilig chose a one-time lump sum of $390,000. His windfall plans are simple: buy his wife a car and save the rest for a secure future.

Heilig's win marks the eighth Lucky for Life jackpot claimed in Michigan this year, solidifying 2024 as a particularly lucky year for the state's players. These lucky winners include:

  • A Flushing woman who snagged the prize with a ticket bought at Borders Corner Store in Mount Pleasant on February 20th.
  • An Escanaba woman who struck gold with a ticket purchased online on March 12th.
  • A Redford Township woman who celebrated after buying her winning ticket at the Value Center Market in Livonia on March 23rd.
  • Two lucky online players who scored big on March 25th and April 17th.
  • Another Livonia resident who purchased the winning ticket at Merriman Drugs on March 26th.
  • The winning streak continued on April 29th with a ticket bought at Morning Fresh Bakery in Adrian.

Feeling lucky? Here's how to play

For a mere $2 per play, Lucky for Life offers a chance to win prizes ranging from a few bucks to a life-changing sum. Match all five winning numbers (between 1 and 48) and the Lucky Ball (between 1 and 18) to land the top prize of $1,000 a day for life. Matching all five white balls without the Lucky Ball still earns you a cool $25,000 a year for life. Drawings happen daily at 10:38 p.m., and tickets can be purchased at Lottery retailers or online at the Michigan Lottery website.

Fueling Michigan's schools 

Nearly every dollar spent on Michigan Lottery tickets goes back to the state, primarily benefiting public education. In 2023 alone, the Lottery contributed over $1.3 billion to Michigan's schools, marking its fifth year exceeding the billion-dollar mark. Since its inception in 1972, the Lottery has poured more than $28 billion into supporting public education in the state.


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