Retired hospital porter Steve Smith, who is suffering from a potentially fatal heart defect, won almost £19 million (US $38 million) on Britain's National Lottery — but said he would give it all up if he could spend a few more years living with his wife Ida.
"I have a one in 10 chance of living. It's like a ticking time bomb," said the 58-year-old Smith, enjoying a bittersweet glass of celebratory champagne with his wife Ida.
Smith, who has an aortic aneurysm, told reporters when collecting his check, "It's Ida I worry for, it's leaving her behind. I would give all that back if I am allowed to still be with her because there are no shops in the cemetery are there?"
Smith landed the giant prize with an extra stroke of luck — the couple stopped off on the way home from a family visit to buy some lucky dip tickets and it was one of those which hit the jackpot.
"I want to see my grandchildren spend their pensions. The youngest one is six, so that's how long I want to live. I want to see them go down the aisle and all that business."
Steve, who lives with Ida in a one-bedroom council flat in Hemel Hempstead, Herts, added, "I have to feel lucky about the money. We have to feel lucky. But I would give it all back to spend my life with Ida."
Steve was diagnosed three years ago. He has to be within 30 minutes of a hospital at all times in case the artery wall bursts and he needs emergency surgery.
All the money in the world cannot help Steve because the weak spot has to reach a certain size before doctors can safely operate. He brushed back tears as he said, "I can't go private and say 'Fix this now, it doesn't matter what it costs'. It's not like that."
Steve will see his doctor to monitor the aneurysm next month and is then due to see a surgeon to discuss whether an operation is possible yet.
But surgery is no easy option because there is the risk he could be left paralyzed. Steve added: "When people talk about heaven and hell, I always say 'I'm living in hell'."
Steve and Italian-born Ida married in 1987 after meeting at a hospital where both were working.
They have had no children together — but have two each from previous marriages and six grandchildren.
Steve now plans to buy a four-bedroom bungalow, a Range Rover — and a few other luxuries. "We have to have a bungalow because I can't do stairs. I am not flash but I want to buy some nice, quality gear because I can afford it.
"But it's not going to change me. I'm the same old rough diamond."
Steve said he bought his winning ticket only as an afterthought after Ida insisted she wanted a Lucky Dip because it was a rollover.
When he realized on Sunday that he won the £18,992,109 he rang his son and told him to come over.
Steve said, "I asked him, have you ever kissed a millionaire? He said no and so I kissed him on the cheek and said 'You have now, boy'.
"They always say the Smiths and Joneses never win. Well Mr. and Mrs. Smith have won this time."
Ida, who stood holding Steve's hand as he spoke, said, "We are very happy. It will change our lives."
Steve added, "How can anybody feel if they have just won 19 million quid? It's emotional. It's all my birthdays come at once. It'll be Christmas every day now — and I've not believed in Christmas for a long time."