A STRUGGLING raffle winner struck gold after winning a £260k jackpot – the same day she had to sell her car and move back in with her parents.
Cassie Hughes, from Perrystown, Dublin, was struggling financially and about to move back in with her parents when she bagged the raffle prize worth over £266,500.
Ms Hughes, 29, had also put her car up for sale just hours before she got her lucky break on Wednesday which she described as "the most insane feeling in the world".
She had only bought one ticket for the charity raffle which was run by mental health charity Pieta House, reports DublinLive.
The raffle has been running since November with the main prize being an attractive three-bedroom apartment in Lucan.
Tickets cost €17.50 each and some people had purchased over 100 tickets for the draw.
However, not enough tickets were generated to cover the cost of the main prize so €320,000 (£266,534) was raffled off instead, from the money generated by ticket sales.
Cassie said: "During the day, I saw it on Instagram that the draw was going ahead that night. I actually thought to myself, 'will I buy a couple of more tickets' and then I said 'no, you don't really have much money at the minute so let's just leave that'.
"Later on in the night, I actually forgot about the draw and I was on a Facetime call with my friend. We were just chatting away then an email notification popped up and said in capital letters 'YOU'VE WON'.
"I started jumping up and down on my bed and my friend was asking what was going on and I just kept yelling 'this can't be real, this can't be real'."
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She went on: "I clicked into the email and it said 'can I have your phone number because you just won over €300,000'.
"I was freaking out but I also wanted to stay calm because there's so many scammers out there."
She added: "I went onto their Instagram then and looked at the video of the draw that had been live-streamed. I was trying to fast-forward it to the part where the name was called out and the next minute I see 'Cassandra Hughes' and I couldn't breathe.
"My body was shaking, it was the most insane feeling in the world."
Cassie phoned her parents straight after to share her shock and the good news.
She said: "I got them to watch the video and they called me back and we were all just screaming, it was crazy.
I just kept yelling 'this can't be real'
"For my parents, it's been such a financial struggle for them over the past few years. They've worked all their lives and they're the best people ever.
"So it just means the absolute world to me that I'm able to help them out now. It's really emotional, I'm just so happy that I can help them as well as get myself ready for going forward."
Keith Mooney, organiser of the raffle is making a €5,000 donation to the charity, which Cassie has pledged to match.
"Obviously, I never in a million years thought I would win but the fact that it was also to raise money for Pieta House and mental health, something very close to my heart, that was my main reason for buying a ticket.
"I thought well, I'm never going to win it but at least I'm throwing a bit of money towards charity.
"Obviously you want to win but you never think it's going to happen. I enter little competitions but have never won one in my life. I just can't believe it."
Keith said it is "heartwarming" knowing that his raffle has changed someone's life forever.
He said: "From the outset, that was one of the things that we really wanted to do; have a positive impact on someone's life for the rest of their life.
"Getting a lump sum of €320,000 is going to change that person's life for the better forever. They may never need to have a mortgage, they will never have to pay rent again and they're set up if they want to start a family."
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