14/08/2014 16:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Grieving Family Facing Bankruptcy Find $4 Million Lottery Ticket In Late Daughter's Cookie Jar

Grieving family facing bankruptcy find $4 million lottery ticket in late daughter's cookie jar

A grieving family facing bankruptcy found a long-lost winning lottery ticket for $4.85 million – in a cookie jar their late daughter had bought them as a gift.

Savannah Cerezo had given her parents the jar and they had used it to keep scraps of paper.

Tragically, the 14-year-old died following a seizure and to add to the terrible blow of their loss, their family store ran into hard times and was facing closure.

But while rooting through the jar, dad Ricardo, from Geneva, Illinois, discovered the lucky ticket that had been forgotten after he bought it in February at a 7-Eleven store.

He only checked on the lotto ticket after he received a lecture from his wife, frustrated at her husband's habit of storing random pieces of paper in the jar.

She laid down the law that if he didn't clean out the bits of paper, she would throw them away. Luckily before the lucrative lotto ticket was discarded, the man realised just how valuable the paper was.

"I'm awestruck, this is unbelievable ... I thought I had probably won about $600 ... When I realized we had all six numbers, it was that shocking moment of 'Whoa, can this really be?'" Ricardo told the the Inquisitr.

"So I called my son over and asked him to double check this ... And he looked it through and goes, 'Yep, looks like a winner'."

Despite the amazing turn of luck for the family, they are still mourning the loss of their daughter Savannah.

The grieving father said that Savannah's spirit must still be looking over them. He said he hopes to use the money to help others, in memory of their youngest child.

"We will pay off our mortgage and share with our two children. We will also give to our church and favorite charities. It is very important to us that we use this money to help others," Ricardo said.