Stephany Marchese, the winner of a $1 million jackpot with nine of her coworkers at a Staten Island, N.Y., nursing home, has very simple advice for those eying this Friday's $400 million Mega Millions jackpot.
"Play, play, play," Marchese, 61, told GoodMorningAmerica.com. "It took $2 and a dream for us. Just play. You never know."
Marchese is a member of the self-titled "The Fabulous 9," a group of three friends and six coworkers at the Eger Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Egertville, Staten Island, who have been pitching in $10 each per month for the past 20 years for lottery tickets.
In October, the "Fabulous 9," discovered they had a winning Powerball ticket and yesterday the group received their prize, a $1 million jackpot broken down into a lump sum for each of $69,226, or "60 and some change," according to Marchese.
"I cried because I was so happy," she said. "I plan to do a little for everybody and take a little vacation and pay off some obligations I have and save."
Marchese, a married mother of two and grandmother to one, has worked at Eger for the past decade and started buying Powerball tickets with the group 15 years ago. She had a very quick answer when asked if this coming Christmas will be a good one for her and her family.
"Yes it will. Believe me you," Marchese said.
Though they range in age from their 40s to their 60s, according to Marchese, one thing all members of "The Fabulous 9? have in common is that they showed up for work today.
The other members of group who collected a check Tuesday were Annette Alexis, Mauleen Gomez, Fatumata Massalee, Marva Prevost, Roseanne Pucciarelli, Linda Rizzo, Deborah Scalera and Lucille White, according to The New York Lottery.
Marchese says the group never had a formal contract should they win but just relied on a rotation of who would buy the tickets, always used Quick Pick to select the numbers and had a mutual understanding that they would equally split the winnings.
She also says there was no co-worker envy when they each returned to the 600 employee-nursing home the next day more than $60,000 richer.
"Everybody is happy. We're all happy. It's a blessing," Marchese said.