A suburban family who received a $400,000 winning ticket from the Illinois Lottery after playing for 30 years will finally be able to redeem it.
With seven mouths to feed, including a young son with special needs, the lottery win for Lance and Helen Whitfield was a saving grace. The Bourbonnais couple played Illinois Lottery's Lucky Day Lotto for 30 years hoping for their ‘lucky day’ and on July 20 it finally came in the form of a $400,000 winning ticket.
“For two days he couldn’t sit down,” Helen Whitfield said of her husband’s reaction to the prize win.
The couple adopted four of their seven children, including their youngest son Dalton who has Down syndrome.
“I’m 74, she’s 73 and [Dalton] is going to need care for probably a long time,” Whitfield said. “Every winter he goes to school, he comes back and he goes to the hospital for five days at a time.”
The family soon after sealed plans to move to the warmer state of Florida with several of their children. But what was initially excitement soon turned to frustration when they realized their payment wasn’t coming.
However, a new bill signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday allows Illinois Lottery winners to collect their prizes. Payments to several lottery winners had been delayed since July 1 due to the budget impasse in Springfield. Only prizes under $600 could be collected.
Now, the family said it will be moved by Christmas if the check clears in time.