When Dr. Josh McConkey of Apex buys a lottery ticket, he does not have to think long about the numbers he will play.

“I have numbers that I use with my children’s birthdays and my anniversary and those types of things,” he said.

After playing those numbers for years, they paid off Thursday when McConkey’s ticket, bought using Online Play, matched all five balls in the Cash 5 drawing for a $1.5 million jackpot. He split the prize with another jackpot-winning ticket purchased at the Piggly Wiggly on Tatum Drive in New Bern.

McConkey arrived at lottery headquarters Friday to collect his $757,577 prize and, after required state and federal tax withholdings, took home $541,670.

The odds of matching numbers on all five balls playing Cash 5 are 1 in 962,598.

“This is quite a day,” McConkey said. “I am still really in shock. It’s pretty wild.”

McConkey, a physician and colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, says he will use his winnings to support his campaign for a seat in the U.S. Congress.

“It is definitely needed,” McConkey said. “It is going to help us and put us in a position to help North Carolina.”

Cash 5 is one of six lottery games in North Carolina where players have the option of buying their tickets at a retail location or with Online Play through the lottery’s website or the NC Lottery Official Mobile App. Tonight’s Cash 5 jackpot stands at $185,000.

To learn more about how $63.5 million raised by the lottery made a difference for education programs in Wake County last year, visit www.nclottery.com and click on the “Impact” section.