As Americans await the massive Mega Millions drawing on Friday Jan. 13, one recent Powerball winner with beginner's luck shared how she's paying it forward and if she believes lightning could strike twice.
Joni Thompson played Powerball in Michigan for the first time back in November and won $1 million after her Powerball number was just one digit off.
"It's so surreal. It's awesome -- I am just really thankful and blessed," Thompson told "Good Morning America" of her November win.
- 1September 10, 2019
- 3January 13, 2023
Fourteen years ago, Thompson started Angels of Action, a nonprofit that feeds children in Mecosta County on the weekends, which has since grown from helping 25 kids to over 1,500. The organization has nine other programs for math, reading and tutoring and helps ensure families get fed.
"I'm going to continue to use some of this money to make sure that all the kids in our county and surrounding county are taken care of," Thompson, 54, told "GMA."
She also started Fru, a business with her son, and said she plans to use a portion of the lottery winnings to help entrepreneurs start businesses, especially within their local community.
"It's all about paying it forward and leading with love," Thompson said.
When asked if she's playing for the Mega Millions $1.35 billion jackpot, which will be drawn Friday at 11 p.m. ET, Thompson said "of course," with a big smile and laugh.
"My friends have called and ask me to buy their ticket for them and give them the winnings," she said. "I feel like I've got a little extra luck. The [Detroit] Lions have extra luck this year, so I might also."
Thompson purchased her ticket at Country Corner Supermarket in Stanwood and her winning numbers in the Nov. 8, 2022, drawing were 10-33-41-47-56.
"When I realized I'd matched five numbers and was the big winner, I started hyperventilating, screaming, and crying," Thompson told the Michigan Lottery after a visit to the headquarters to claim the prize. "I had my son scan my ticket on his Lottery app to make sure I was reading it right."