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Thanks to Friend’s Text, Iowa Woman Finds Forgotten $343.9M Powerball Ticket

CLIVE, Iowa – One of two winners in the $700M Powerball jackpot, a 51-year-old Iowa woman, said at a press conference Monday that she had misplaced the winning ticket but a friend's text message helped make her a multimillionaire.

The Iowa Lottery held the conference at its Clive headquarters, where Lerynne West explained what led up to her buying the ticket and how she found out she was a winner.

West said she had just purchased her first home and was moving on October 26th when her sister took her to the Casey's General Store in Redfield to get a slice of pizza and coffee. She bought a ticket for the drawing and accidentally left it in her sister's truck.

October 28th, the morning after the drawing, a friend texted her to ask if she had won the lottery, since someone from Iowa had split the jackpot with a winner in New York. West couldn't find her ticket but then remembered it might be in her sister's truck. After asking her to check the ticket, her sister sent a photo of the ticket to West -- who checked the numbers online.

At first it didn't look like she'd won anything but she realized she put the wrong drawing date in on the Iowa Lottery website, after entering the correct date she learned she had matched every number -- including the Powerball.

West, who retired from Welmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield after the win, says she plans to buy a new car for herself and take vacations. She is excited to help out family and friends and has set up the Callum Foundation, named for a grandson who was born at 24 weeks and lived for just one day.

She said she is focused on doing as much good with the money as possible.

The ticket was one of two, nationwide, to get all the numbers matched in the October 27th Powerball drawing.

Each ticket won a $343.9 million annuity or $198.1 million lump-sum option. West chose the lump sum.

It’s the largest lottery prize ever won by an Iowan.

Watch the news conference below: