WILMINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Persistence paid off in a big way for a Wilmington woman.

Natalie Carraway of Wilmington continued to tell people she would win the top prize in the NC Education Lottery’s Hot 5’s game. On Friday, her prediction came true when she uncovered the $200,000 prize.

“I kept saying I was going to win the $200,000,” she said. “I was adamant about it.”

Carraway, 46, bought her lucky ticket from the Circle K on Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington. She celebrated the win with her daughter in the store.

“I just looked at her and started jumping up and down,” she said. “And then I just started crying.”

Carraway said she knows the store manager since she lives close by.

“He told me he wouldn’t have wanted it to happen to anyone else,” she said.

Carraway stopped by lottery headquarters Monday to claim her prize and, after required state and federal tax withholdings, took home $142,501.

“This couldn’t have come at a better time,” Carraway said. “It is such a blessing.”

She said she will use her winnings to pay some bills, do some home renovations, and buy a car.

The Hot 5’s game debuted in July with five top prizes of $200,000. One $200,000 prize remains to be claimed.

Ticket sales from scratch-offs make it possible for the lottery to raise $2.5 million a day on average for education. For details on how $11.5 million raised by the lottery made a difference in New Hanover County last year, visit www.nclottery.com and click on the “Impact” section.