Visiting Alaska with her sick husband was ‘a pipe dream’ — until her huge lottery win

For a husband and wife who were worried about paying rent in the coming year, visiting Alaska “was always a pipe dream.”

But that changed when Penny Reep, of Armstrong County, won a “life-changing prize,” according to a Nov. 2 news release from the Pennsylvania Lottery.

The 50-year-old woman said she had cashed in winning lottery tickets on Monday, Oct. 16, while in Chicora the day of her dentist appointment. With her winnings, she bought a couple tickets, including a $3 Million Diamonds and Gold ticket for $30.

“I scratched the $30 ticket and thought, ‘I’m not seeing this right,’” she recalled to lottery officials. “When I scanned it, it said, ‘Congratulations, you won $3 million.’ I grabbed the counter and started crying. I had chest pain and it felt like my feet were coming out from underneath of me.”

She had won the game’s top prize, according to the release.

Reep was presented her commemorative check during a tearful ceremony.

“We were worried about how we were going to begin paying our rent at the beginning of the year,” she said during the recorded ceremony shared on Facebook, “ ... but now we’re going to be OK.”

Reep’s husband has a rare form of terminal cancer, according to the release.

“We don’t know how long we have with him,” Reep told lottery officials. “He’s no longer able to work and I’ve been trying to take care of him, but I’m also having health problems.”

But with these winnings, Reep is now able to plan an Alaskan trip and make her husband’s dream vacation come true.

“I’m going to be able to give him everything he’s always wanted,” she told lottery officials.

Reep said she and her husband “are going to stay the same people ... but now we will have memories for a lifetime.”

Her winning ticket was sold by Rummy Mart in Chicora, about 50 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Many people can gamble or play games of chance without harm. However, for some, gambling is an addiction that can ruin lives and families.

If you or a loved one shows signs of gambling addiction, you can seek help by calling the national gambling hotline at 1-800-522-4700 or visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling website.

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