RALEIGH – Fayetteville resident Jerry Osborne said that for three weeks, the No. 13 haunted him. On Wednesday, he said everything changed when he spent $13 playing the lottery and won the top prize in the $500 a Week for Life! game.

He and his wife Susan claimed their prize in Raleigh on Friday morning.

“It was actually pretty annoying before we won the prize,” Jerry said. “My wife would ask me for lunch money and I’d have $13 in my pocket. I’d come home at the end of the day and have $13 left. I even woke up at night dreaming about the No. 13. When I went to the store, my hand started itching. I asked for $13 worth of tickets and won on the 13th ticket I bought. Needless to say, I’m not haunted by that number anymore.”

The $500 a Week for Life! top prize guarantees winners an annual prize of $26,000 for the rest of their lives. The winner can also choose a lump sum cash prize, worth $354,000, instead of the annuity.

The Osbornes chose the lump sum option and received a check for $240,591 after state and federal taxes were withheld. The couple plans to use its winnings to help those in need and maybe take a cruise.

“It will be nice to do some good for people who really need it,” Susan said. “That’s what we do for people and that’s what people have done for us.”

$500 a Week for Life! Is one of four instant games offering the chance to win as much as $5,000 a week for life. The tickets are available for $1, $2, $5, and $10 per play.

Osborne purchased the lucky $1 ticket at Red Sea on Eastern Boulevard in Fayetteville. As of Friday afternoon, three more top prizes remain to be won in the $500 a Week for Life! game.

Ticket sales for games such as instant scratch-offs have enabled the lottery to raise more than $2.6 billion for education initiatives statewide. Since the lottery began through June 30, 2012, Cumberland County education programs received more than $97.9 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 need-based college scholarships and financial aid.