RALEIGH – Raleigh resident Maha Natour said that she plans to purchase a new home after scratching off the top prize on her $5,000 a Week for Life! ticket.

Natour and her husband purchased the winning $10 ticket on Thursday while stopping for gas at the North Hills Exxon on Six Forks Road in Raleigh.

“I was so excited and nervous,” Natour said. “I can’t believe it’s true. I know that it’s real, but it hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Natour is the first player to claim a top prize in the $5,000 a Week for Life! game. The top prize is structured in annual payments that continue for a winner’s entire life. The guaranteed value of the prize is at least 20 years of payments to a winner or his designated estate. Top prize winners can also choose to claim their winnings as a lump sum with a cash value equal to the guaranteed prize amount.

Natour chose the lump sum option, which amounted to $2,404,483 after state and federal taxes were withheld. As of Thursday afternoon, two top prizes of $5,000 a week for life remain unclaimed in the game.

Since the lottery began through June 30, 2011, Wake County education programs received more than $145.8 million in lottery funds. By law, those funds pay for teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction, prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, and college scholarships and financial aid based on need.

To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.45 billion for these initiatives statewide.