19, 22, 28, 30, 36, 38, 39.
To most, the seven numbers above are random. But to one lucky couple in St. Thomas, it’s those numbers that earned them the August 6th Lotto Max jackpot.
Gerry and Helen Phillips headed to the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto on Thursday to claim their prize.
The pair spoke with 980 CFPL on the phone, and Gerry says the couple started in the 1970s when they first married. They’d play lottery tickets from time to time but never won anything nearly this huge.
Then just a few weeks ago, Gerry went out for breakfast with their grandchildren when he remembered he had a Lotto Max ticket in his pocket that he had yet to check.
At first, Gerry says, he thought the prize was $260,000, but when he double-checked the ticket at a convenience store, he was shocked by what he saw.
Gerry says when he broke the news to his wife, Helen didn’t believe him at first.
“I thought he was trying to pull a prank,” says Helen, a newly-retired nurse of 46-years. “Immediately, our future, retirement and children… everything was just like ‘wow, we’re going to be okay.'”
The couple kept their lottery win low-key until it was official, since St. Thomas is a small town, but now they’re ready to start a new life with much heavier wallets than before.
The Phillips tell 980 CFPL that they’re not exactly sure how they’re spending $26 million, but they plan to take a “bucket-list” vacation, and are taking off on a cruise with their family next February.
In addition to travelling, the couple are also starting a new foundation to honour a close family member that they lost.
READ MORE: Ilderton man wins $9.1M Lotto 6-49 jackpot
This win has allowed Helen to step away from her job and join her husband in retirement, but the pair are not ready to retire from playing lottery tickets.
In fact, Gerry has a tip for other lottery players.
The winning ticket was purchased at Shoppers Drug Mart on First Avenue in St. Thomas.
WATCH: Iowa man who won $1 in lottery insists on being paid with giant novelty cheque