GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Christmas came early for a Gaston County Marine veteran. He hit the lottery-- big time.
"I have been crying every day since I won," said Michael Harlow wiping away tears. He still can't believe that it happened.
They're tears of joy. The money couldn't have come at a better time. Harlow, 61, works as a security guard. As he was on his way to work he stopped to buy a lottery scratch off.
"When I scratched it and saw the $100,000 I checked it and looked at it again," Harlow said.
This week the veteran cashed in. After taxes, Harlow went home with $70,506.90. It's a number he has memorized. Some of that money is spoken for.
"The main thing is pay some bills and that's going to free up money from our paychecks," he explained.
Harlow may officially be a lottery winner but he already feels lucky and he has for 33 years. That's when he met his wife June.
"That's her with hair. She doesn't look like that now, but she's still beautiful," he said. His wife is fighting breast cancer. She's already had an operation and undergoing chemotherapy now.
"I was a Marine. I have a beautiful wife. I have three boys and six grandchildren. The good Lord gave me that money to help fight this cancer with her," he said.
One of the first things Harlow says he did was book a cruise for his wife. He saved up to take her on one for their 20th anniversary.
Now, as they celebrate their 33rd and fight cancer the timing couldn't be better. Harlow says he's splurging on the nice room with the ocean view. It will give his wife something to look forward to and help get her through her treatments.
"When we wake up we are going to be able to see the sunshine and the ocean," Harlow said.
One thing Michael will always be willing to bet on is his wife June.
"If I was a betting man she is going to make it and I am a betting man and now she has 100,000 reasons to do it," said Harlow.
His odds of winning were one in 600,000.