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Iowa Powerball winner claims $343.9 million check

She nearly lost the ticket after leaving it on the floor of her sister’s truck.

Single mom almost missed out on $350M Powerball jackpot

A single mother was all smiles (and a few tears) recently when she claimed a $343.9 million check for being one of two winners of the $687.8 million Powerball jackpot.

“I have been extremely blessed to win this big Powerball,” Lerynne West, 51, of Redfield, Iowa, said during a news conference Monday at Iowa Lottery headquarters. “This will forever change my life.”

West, the mother of three adult daughters and six grandchildren, said she’d worked full time and attended school full time as she raised her children. She thanked her family and friends, some of whom were present at Monday’s event, for their love and support.

“My girls and I used to dream of winning the lottery,” West said. “Never thought we would be here today.”

West said she would take the $198.1 million lump-sum option.

“I know the responsibility that I have to do good with this money.”

In a news release Monday, the Iowa Lottery said this latest drawing was the largest lottery prize ever won in the state. The other jackpot winner was in New York City, though that winning ticket had yet to be claimed.

West said Monday she usually played the lottery twice a week when she had the money. She said the most she’d ever won prior to the Powerball jackpot was $150.

On Oct. 26, West, who had just purchased her first home, was with her sister when she bought a lottery ticket while grabbing a bite to eat and some coffee. When she got into her sister’s truck, she said, she thought she’d put the tickets into her purse.

The morning day after the Oct. 27 Powerball drawing, a friend called her to say that someone had won in Iowa. When she couldn’t find her tickets, West said, she called her sister who found them on the floor of her truck and sent her a picture of the numbers. When West checked them against the winning numbers, she was in disbelief.

“I said to my sister, ‘Get that ticket, get in your truck and get up here now — and drive slow,'” West said Monday.

A now-retired health care analyst, West said her winnings would ensure her grandchildren were able to afford college and that she could take care of her family, including seven siblings and her mother.

She said her family had also established the Callum Foundation, named after a grandson who was born prematurely and died a day later, to help others in need.

“I know the responsibility that I have to do good with this money. I do consider myself very lucky and very blessed,” she said. “I never want to forget where I came from.”

Lerynne West, a single mother and grandmother in Iowa, spoke repeatedly about her life being changed and feeling a sense of responsibility to help others.

Iowa grandmother revealed as Powerball winner

Updated on: November 5, 2018 / 3:41 PM / CBS/AP

CLIVE, Iowa — A grandmother from the small Iowa community of Redfield has claimed her share of a nearly $700 million Powerball prize . Iowa Lottery officials confirmed Monday that Lerynne West was one of two winners of a $688 million jackpot drawn Oct. 27.

She’ll share the prize with someone who bought the other winning ticket in New York City. West opted for the cash option, which will pay her an immediate $198.1 million, minus taxes.

One of West’s sisters had to send West a picture of her winning ticket because she had left it in her sister’s truck. She then entered her numbers into the Iowa Lottery website only to find that nothing matched.

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“When you get numbers right, they show up in red,” West said. “Well, nothing showed up in red because I had the wrong date in there.”

She got the good news after correcting the date. “It was red, red, red, red, red, red, jackpot, and I thought I’ve done something wrong again,” West said.

When West realized that she was a winner, she had a message for her sister: “Get that ticket, get in your truck and get up here now,” she said. “And drive slow.”

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West said she dreamed of winning a jackpot, but “once you have won and you realize the responsibility and, you know, just the impact that you can make, all frivolity goes out the window.” Some of her winnings would go toward helping her family, which includes her mother, seven brothers and sisters, three daughters and six grandchildren.

West also said she had started a charitable foundation in honor of her late grandson, Callum. He was born prematurely at 24 weeks in April and lived for one day, she said.

The 51-year-old worked for a health insurance organization, but said she retired last week. West overcame odds of 292.2 million to one to win.

The first thing she said she would buy for herself was a new car. “Currently I drive a Ford Fiesta that people have just beat up when I’m not in it,” West said, noting that the car had 142,000 miles on it.

“I’m going to get a car big enough,” she said, “that I can take all my grandchildren places now.”

First published on November 5, 2018 / 12:00 PM

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Lerynne West of Redfield, Iowa, said she's taking $198.1 million lump-sum option of last month's $688 million jackpot