First-time lotto ticket-buyer wins $48 million

Maryam Shah, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:32 AM ET

TORONTO -- When Tina Ferrone bought her first Lotto Max ticket on Friday -- on a whim during her lunch hour -- she did not expect to net $48 million.

"I hyperventilated and cried and I couldn't breathe," she said of her reaction Saturday to discovering she won such a large amount. "It's crazy."

The 42-year-old Kanata woman stood beaming beside her husband, Liam McGee, also 42, at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) prize centre in downtown Toronto Tuesday, ready to receive her winnings.

The final total came to an interesting $48,000,020. The extra $20 came from matching four numbers on another line.

For this family -- two parents, three children, two dogs -- becoming overnight multimillionaires is "beyond the realm of anything we ever dreamed about," especially after the troubles they've pushed through for the past two years.

"My husband was diagnosed (in January 2012) with multiple myeloma, which is a blood-based cancer which affects the bones," Ferrone said.

After working in construction for most of his life, McGee found himself unable to earn a living.

"He had to undergo chemotherapy, radiation, he had a stem-cell transplant, he had major back surgery," Ferrone said. "He's been out of work for the better part of three years, which means that it's me that's paying our bills."

With his cancer in remission now, McGee remembers being "miserable" during this tough period.

"It's one thing to be sick and go through the treatments and everything, but I couldn't provide for my family anymore, and everybody was just taking care of me," he said. "I didn't like how that fit and I was never comfortable with it.

"Now we're lucky enough that I can give that back to everybody who helped us out so much. To be able to share to me is the biggest thing by far," he added.

Ferrone works as an events co-ordinator in Ottawa and teaches yoga on the side. For years she's dreamed of opening her own yoga studio, she said.

"When my husband got sick, obviously that took a backseat to everything. So (I'm) getting my plans back on track and really focusing on this 100%."

The couple also plans on moving to a dream home and travelling to Italy and Ireland. A visit to a financial adviser is also on their list.