Virginia Van Schepdael doesn’t check her email very often, and when she does it’s usually to see if there’s any news from her brothers and sisters or bulletins about her son’s skating group. But it was worth it when she checked her inbox late last month and found a note from Shockwave telling her that she had won $25,000 through the website’s Golden Ticket sweepstakes.

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“At first it was like getting one of those emails from Reader’s Digest saying that you won $1 million, and you’re like ‘yeah right, what’s the catch?'” said the 36-year-old family home visitor, who lives with her husband and two kids on a farm near Killarney, Manitoba, Canada. “But then I thought, what if it was real?”

After calling Shockwave to confirm that the prize was real and that she wasn’t the victim of some sort of sweepstakes scam, it finally began to sink in that Virginia was suddenly $25,000 richer.

“It was surreal, like being in the Twilight Zone,” she explained to Gamezebo. “It’s very exciting, I must say. Some days it doesn’t seem real, and other days it’s ‘Oh my God, I won $25,000!’ It’s a bit like a rollercoaster.”

Shockwave Golden Tickets are awarded randomly to one lucky Club Shockwave member per week. Players can earn an instant win opportunity in any Club Shockwave exclusive game, or by redeeming tokens for an Instant Win Scratchers from the site’s Scratch-o-Matic machines. Shockwave gives away one Golden Ticket per week, then draws a $25,000 winner from the pool of people who have won Golden Tickets.

Van Schepdael has been a Club Shockwave member since Spring 2009, and has been a gamer since her University days when she first discovered Free Cell, solitaire and mahjong. These days, her favorite games include Dream Chronicles and Aveyond.

She said she plans to use part of the prize money to finally go on a proper honeymoon with her husband of seven years, Jason (most likely to Mexico to see the Mayan ruins), and is also planning a trip to Disneyland with the kids, and perhaps some new living room furniture and a new bedroom suite.

And all because of an email that she almost didn’t read!