RALEIGH – Jamelia Mailey of Roanoke Rapids plans to purchase a new home and take some vacations after winning the top prize in the lottery’s $500 a Week for Life! game.

Mailey, a career path coordinator, purchased the lucky $1 ticket at New Dixie on East 10th Street in Roanoke Rapids.

“My boyfriend scratched the ticket while we were driving,” Mailey said as she collected her winnings on Thursday. “I had to pull over to see if it was real. This is life-changing for me. It’s going to provide a better future for me and my family.”

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. Mailey chose the lump sum option and received a check for $244,968 after state and federal taxes were withheld.

“This is amazing,” Mailey said as she held her check for the first time. “I’m speechless.”

The $500 a Week for Life! game went on sale on Aug. 28, 2012 with six top prizes. As of Thursday afternoon, no more top prizes remain to be claimed in the game.

Ticket sales have made it possible for the lottery to raise more than $3.3 billion for the state. Net proceeds are used for prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction, digital learning initiatives, need-based college scholarships and financial aid.

For details on how more than $17.4 million in lottery funds have made a difference in Halifax County, click on the “Where the Money Goes” tab on the lottery’s website.