WICKER PARK — Flanked by officials from the Illinois Lottery and standing next to her husband, a 49-year-old woman who purchased a winning $1 million scratch-off Lotto ticket after shopping at a Wicker Park liquor store said Thursday she feels "lucky and blessed."
Carmen Luz de Borgas and her husband Rafael said that they planned to use the winnings from a Cash Spectacular instant ticket to go on a vacation, donate money to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and make some home repairs.
"Now, I want to plan a trip to Italy because I'm a person of faith," Borgas said through a translator.
When asked how often they play the lottery, Rafael Borgas said he and his wife have "always been fans, playing for a long time."
When asked if she planned to play the Lotto again, Borgas said, "yes."
The recent win was not the couple's first time hitting the jackpot: Two months ago, Borgas, who primarily purchases scratch-off tickets instead of Lotto drawing tickets, won $1,000 in an instant game, she said.
Also on Thursday, a check for $10,000 was presented to Mike Liacopoulos, owner of Rite Liquors, 1649 W. Division St., where the ticket was purchased.
Liacopoulos, who is a Greek immigrant, said, "$10,000, it's a lot of money, it helps."
Originally from Durango, Mexico, Borgas and her husband have lived in Chicago for 19 years and both work at a Fresh Express manufacturing facility.
Borgas said she planned to take the winnings in one lump sum of $700,000 after taxes and "donate a significant amount" to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Borgas told media that she and her son were buying beverages from Rite Liquors on Dec. 27 in preparation for New Year's Eve when she decided to buy four scratch-off tickets. Her husband had a "gut feeling" and told her to buy some tickets, she said.
The couple has two sons, ages 19 and 25.