When Gabriele stepped through the front door of her brand new, waterfront home for the first time she struggled to fight back tears.
Like many of us, the mother of three had always dreamed of owning the perfect home but she never thought that day would actually come.
“When I got the phone call from Surf Life Saving Lotteries I didn’t believe it,” she said.
“I was just speechless. I thought no, this couldn’t happen to me!”
Gabriele had won first prize in Lottery 179 – a luxurious Sunshine Coast home plus $50,000 Gold Bullion, valued at a total of $1,051,399.
“You never expect to get a phone call like that!
“Honestly, I had forgotten about the ticket. I’d bought a $50 book of 70 tickets on the closing day of the draw. I thought, you know what, I’ll just have a go.”
Perhaps it was fate, or maybe it was just a lucky break, but the windfall couldn’t have come at a better time for Gabriele.
“I’d been worrying about my future. Only an hour before I got the call I said to my partner, ‘I’m going to be renting in retirement.’
“But now, I can look around this beautiful house and think I own all of this! It’s not a holiday or a rental, it’s my home…
“And the whole house is so beautiful. It’s so open and relaxing, I love it!
“It’s just so nice not to have to worry about money.
“For the first time in my life I’ve woken up and not thought, ‘I’ve got this bill to pay or that bill to pay, what am I going to do?’
“It’s definitely changed my life!
“If someone was thinking about buying a ticket I’d encourage them to do it. It’s such a worthy cause. And you may not win this time or the next time, but there could be another time down the track where you do win.”