Marilou Anobas came to Lottery Headquarters on Wednesday with tears of joy in her eyes. “I’m so excited, I can’t put it into words,” she said. The 54-year-old, who works as an ER nurse at John’s Hopkins, was sleeping in on her day off, when her 10-year-old son, Michael, woke her up with the good news.
Marilou said the win was truly a family effort. The family goes together to the local 7-Eleven to buy Mega Millions tickets every week. Marilou and her mother, 84, play a combination of their birthdays. Actually, the big win came just in time for Marilou’s 55th birthday this Saturday. “We missed the jackpot by one number, 34, the age my husband was when we got married,” said Marilou’s mother. “I knew we should have played the 34.” She said that they have been playing their numbers consistently for the past ten years.
Marilou’s mother attributes the win to recent dreams she has had of a river with rising water. But Marilou believes that her son, Michael, is the reason for her good luck. The lucky winner says her family is her biggest win in life. She is extremely proud of her son, and she is thankful for the close relationship she has with her mother. “My mother is everything for me. I could not ask for more,” Marilou said.
Marilou, who moved to the U.S. in 1993, plans to use her winnings toward a trip home to the Philippines to visit her sister and aunts. She also plans to take her son to Disney World.
The 54-year-old has been through a lot in life. In 1991, when she was working as a trauma nurse during the Gulf War, Marilou was held as a prisoner in Kuwait for nine days. Ten years later, when she was working as an ER nurse in New York City, Marilou watched the Twin Towers collapse and was sent into the ruins on a rescue mission. But despite all she has seen, Marilou still remains optimistic. “Things happen for a reason,” she said, offering this advice for those in need, “work hard and play Mega Millions. That is the ticket.”
The winning ticket was purchased at the 7-Eleven located at 610 Compass Road in Baltimore. Marilou is one of two Maryland residents to win the second-tier Mega Millions prize on Tuesday.