A Charlotte nurse who has cared for COVID-19 patients during the pandemic, wants to use her North Carolina lottery winnings to continue helping those with low immunity to the coronavirus.
With the $216,614 she won in the Carolina Cash 5 game, Shameka Waller plans to start a service that helps bed-bound and older adult patients get access to COVID testing and treatment.
“This win, it’s just great for so many reasons,” Waller, a clinical advising nurse and mother of two, told lottery officials when she claimed her prize at lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Wednesday. “I know what I want to do — I want to continue to serve people in need.”
Waller’s good fortune began at bedtime Monday night when she decided to play the lottery online.
“I don’t play the lottery that often,” Waller said, according to a lottery release. “But I thought you can’t win if you don’t play.”
Waller bought a $1 ticket online and selected her own five numbers — 1-2-4-11-16 — based upon the birthdates of her family, including her son and daughter.
The next day, Waller logged into her lottery account and saw all the zeros. It felt “unreal,” she said.
Waller immediately started to share the news with her family, beginning with her daughter.
“I told her, ‘Your mom might have won the lottery,’” Waller said. “She asked me, ‘Did you really win it?’ And I told her, ‘I think we did, buddy.’”
After taxes, Waller took home $154,505. She says she will continue to “be there for patients and make sure they have the highest quality of life” but also plans to use the money to take a vacation with her family once it is safe.
“Just being a mom, this will be super helpful,” Waller said.
Cash 5 is one of four North Carolina Education Lottery games where players can buy tickets through Online Play, on the lottery’s website or through its mobile app.