Rick Cerezo, the Geneva resident who won $4.85 million in the Illinois Lottery's Lotto game, will appear Monday on the "Katie" show featuring Katie Couric. The show airs at 3 p.m. Monday on ABC-TV.
The show is titled, "Life After Lottery," and will feature some of the biggest lottery winners. While Cerezo is not one of the biggest jackpot winners, the story of the winning ticket was compelling.
The Cerezos were in the process of losing their Geneva home and were struggling to make payments. But for months, they unknowingly had been storing the lottery ticket in a cookie jar in the kitchen. That jar was given to them by their daughter, Savannah, who died at age 14 from what doctors believe might have been a stroke.
Rick Cerezo took the lottery tickets stored in the cookie jar to see whether any were winners, and when he checked one, the words "file a claim" appeared. The family checked the numbers online and saw that the ticket was worth $4.85 million.
"In an instant, everyone starts crying," Cerezo said in a story published in May in the Kane County Chronicle. "We knew who was behind it."