(NBC News: Lauren Jiggetts) - Just nine months ago, Ricardo Cerezo and his wife made the most painful decision of their lives, removing their 14-year-old daughter Savannah from life support after a series of seizures. Her bedroom remains unchanged. In February, faced with pending foreclosure, Ricardo found himself in this room.
“I was on my knees crying. Just asking the Lord, I'm ok with losing everything else. I just can't lose this room.”
Their answer was in this cookie jar. Savannah bought it a few months before she died.
“It's sort of where we keep our little keepsakes of her and still piling up Lotto tickets in it.“
One Lotto ticket was from February. It was now April and Ricardo’s wife gave him an ultimatum, check the pile of tickets or trash them.
“The last ticket said ‘file a claim’. Not a congratulations. Not an amount, just file a claim.”
Ricardo, a management consultant, thought he had won a few hundred dollars only to find out later it was a $4.85-million jackpot.
“To be honest, the first emotion was mammoth regret. Regret because our youngest wasn't here to enjoy this.”
But he says he finds peace in knowing that this is an incredible gift from his daughter to her family.
“With the loss of our youngest member we decided to hang onto faith. We clung together and what an amazing payoff. “
The family is now working to pay off their mortgage and pay for college.
They also plan to donate a portion of the money to charity and their church.