ARCHDALE, N.C. — Just as many other lottery winners, Steve Lax of Archdale says his win – a $250,000 Powerball prize − couldn’t have come at a better time.
Lax won the prize in the Dec. 5 Powerball drawing with a $3 Power Play ticket purchased through Online Play. His Quick Pick ticket matched four numbers and the Powerball – only one number away from winning the jackpot. The 5x multiplier in the drawing multiplied his $50,000 prize to $250,000.
Somehow he missed the email, notifying him of his win. So as the deadline to claim the prize neared, the lottery reached out again by phone to alert him to his winning ticket.
“I thought you might be messing with me at first,” he said of the phone call. “Then I started crying. “I’ve been hoping for something like this to happen. And praying.”
Most lottery players have a dream for what they will do if they win. Sometimes it involves help during a tough time.
For the last six years, Lax has faced a series of difficult health care conditions. It started with a diagnosis of lymphoma in 2013. Due to the cancer, he sold his insurance agency. A stem cell transplant while the lymphoma was in remission brought a cure. Things got better. Then, eight months after the transplant, Graft versus Host disease struck. His health worsened as donor cells attacked his organs.
“If I get sick again,” he said, “it’s not going to be good.”
By Lax’s side as he claimed his prize was his wife, Amy, who’s been there throughout his illness. Good health insurance has helped greatly, they said, but it doesn’t cover all the bills. He says his wife, his family, friends, and their faith have sustained him.
“Our story is a story of faith and trust in God’s plan,” said Amy. “We’re making it. We’re able to manage and very thankful God provides. This will make our worries less for sure.”
After tax withholdings, Lax received $176,876. He said some of the money would help meet the insurance deductible for this year, some will help with other medical costs, some will help with two weddings of the couple’s daughters this summer, and part will go to their church.
“I feel like a quarter of a million dollars,” Lax said. “I feel like a very blessed man.”