North Carolina Nurse Working On Frontlines Amid COVID-19 Surge Wins $1M Lottery

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Lotto ticket

During a time of uncertainty and rising COVID-19 cases, a nurse working on the frontlines of coronavirus cases has won the $1 million prize in the North Carolina Education Lottery. 

Terri Watkins from Durham, North Carolina, received the call of a lifetime when she was told she’d be taking home the $1 million prize after having to compete with 513,000 submissions. 

Watkins played the lottery’s $300,000,000 Supreme Riches second-chance drawing, where winners receive a phone call or email informing them of their good fortune.

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"I thought that it was a scam. I was a little upset actually!" Watkins said. "I thought that it was not real, couldn't be real. It's still something that I really don't believe, I'm still in some shock here." 

Watkins is a nurse in the COVID unit at a long-term care facility where, just like many other frontline workers, she has witnessed and gone through so much amid the growing number of  cases in North Carolina since the start of the pandemic

Doctors, nurses and even the underrated hospital cleaners are on the frontlines of the battle against the coronavirus daily as cases in the U.S. start to spike again.

Putting their health on the line and their lives at risk, they are doing everything they can to keep people safe and healthy.

"Just seeing some of the things that I've had to see, I am very thankful," she said. "I had been praying for something to help me with this situation. It really is a great thing. I'm very blessed."

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Ever since the start of the pandemic, doctors and nurses have been reported to work long, grueling hours and isolate themselves from their families so as to not spread the virus.

Several posts over the course of the pandemic have gone viral, showing the physically and mentally draining experiences of doctors and nurses.

Many haven't even seen their own children or have moved out of their homes, just to to ensure the safety of their families. 

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Watkins chose to take the lump sum of $424,500 after required state and federal tax withholdings, instead of 20 yearly payments of $50,000. 

According to the North Carolina Education Lottery, ticket sales from scratch-offs make it possible for the lottery to raise over $725 million a year for education in the state.

Watkins has no idea what she'll do with such a large portion of money, but plans on taking her time and figuring out the right move.

"I'm just gonna take it slow and easy and figure out what I'm gonna do," said Watkins. "I would love a new home, but I've just got to take time and put it in the right place."

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Angelique Beluso is a sex educator and writer who covers feminism, pop culture and relationship topics.