Cruise with cancer-stricken wife will be more luxurious after man wins NC lottery

A North Carolina man upgraded the room on a planned anniversary cruise with his cancer-stricken wife after he won a scratch-off ticket prize in the NC Education Lottery.

Michael Harlow.jpg
Marine veteran Michael Harlow of Stanley, Gaston County, plans to take his cancer-stricken wife on an eight-day cruise. Harlow won a $100,000 lottery scratch-off ticket prize, taking home about $70,000 after taxes. NC Education Lottery

“It’s not just a chance to celebrate,” Michael Harlow told lottery officials after claiming his prize at lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Monday, according to a lottery news release. “My wife is battling breast cancer right now, and having something to look forward to will help her get through the chemo treatments.”

Harlow, a resident of Stanley in Gaston County, told lottery officials he’d already called Carnival Cruise Line “and upgraded our rooms to the biggest we can get.”

The Marine veteran won a $100,000 lottery prize when he bought a Big Money Playbook at the Circle K convenience store on North Chester Street in Gastonia two weeks ago, lottery officials said in the news release. He beat odds of 1 in 600,000, according to the lottery’s website.

After taxes, Harlow took home $70,507, according to the lottery news release.

Harlow was on his way to work as a security guard when he stopped at the Circle K. He scratched the book of tickets after making his rounds, the lottery news release said without divulging where Harlow works.

The lottery discloses where a winner works only if the person chooses to disclose it when claiming the prize, lottery officials previously told The Charlotte Observer.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Harlow told lottery officials, according to the news release. “I literally went up to one of our towers and let out the biggest, ‘Yes!’ I just yelled out I was so happy.”

Harlow met his wife more than three decades ago.

“It was a whirlwind romance,” he told lottery officials. “I think most people didn’t think we’d last. We met 33 years ago and have been together ever since.”

Social media praised Harlow for how he plans to spend his winnings.

Semper Fi Mr Harlow,” one commented on the lottery’s website, repeating the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps that means “always faithful.”

“Your lady is one lucky woman!!” another wrote.

“A great blessing to you and your family,” said another. “I pray your wife will have a wonderful recovery. My prayers are with her ... Enjoy that wonderful cruise. Merry Christmas.”

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.