By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter2
It was a record setting year for the 18th Dream Lottery fundraiser and members of the city’s hospital community couldn’t be more thrilled.
On Wednesday (June 20), Dream Lottery officials announced Russ Wilton of Kitchener had won the ultimate grand prize. The ultimate grand prize is the choice between fully furnished homes in London and Grand Bend, with an additional $200,000 and $400,000 respectively, or a $1 million cash prize.
Lottery officials were initially unable to reach Wilton, who was working at the time of the draw. His initial reaction was disbelief.
After absorbing the news of his win, and some deliberation last night, Wilton chose the cash. He will travel to London within the next couple of weeks to receive his cheque.
Proceeds from the Dream Lottery are shared between the London Health Sciences Foundation, Children’s Health Foundation and St. Josephs’ Health Care Foundation. The money raised by the lottery, which this year featured more than $2 million in cash and prizes, is used to cover items and initiatives that are above the current, medically accepted standard of care supported by the provincial government’s funding.
Michelle Campbell, president and CEO of St. Joseph's Health Care Foundation, thanked the community for its support. And that support translated into a record 139,482 ticket sold (7,500 tickets were given away as prizes) and an expected $1.1 million in funds. The lottery has raised more than $20.5 million over the last 17 years.
“We want to thank our community so much for coming forward to support health care. Everything to do with this project is about our community,” Campbell said. “It is about our volunteers; it’s about our corporate partners. It is about all the people from across the region who support what we do. This project supports the frontline care for all of us.”
Debbie Comuzzi, president and CEO of Children’s Health Foundation, expressed her personal excitement for being the one who pulled Wilton’s ticket from the prize drum.
“We live for this day. We are so grateful for everyone who purchased a ticket,” Comuzzi said. “I wish I could pull out everybody’s ticket, but I can’t. So it was a thrill for me to be able to do this.”
Besides her personal excitement, Comuzzi said she was thrilled so many people got behind the lottery, particularly in light of difficult financial times across not only London, but the region as well.
“Buying a ticket is one less thing than you can buy for yourself. So the generosity and spirit of the city, and the region, for Dream Lottery has just been phenomenal,” Comuzzi said. “You have to remember, we have longevity. People look forward to the spring, to Dream Lottery. This is dream 18; we better have this right.”
Hospital officials tried to reach Wilton by phone, but were unsuccessful at the time of the draw. However, if she had the opportunity, Comuzzi said she knows what she would have said to Wilton.
“Russ bought a 25 pack; he bought more than just one ticket,” Comuzzi said. “So I would profoundly thank him for supporting London’s hospitals. Which is even more amazing because he doesn’t live in London. So he clearly gets it.”
In addition to unveiling the ultimate grand prize winner, officials also unveiled the 12 grand prize winners. The winners of the 12 other grand prizes are:
Karen Grzech of Ilderton, Lexus IS, or $50,000 cash;
Daren Vanderloo of London, Chevy Volt, or $50,000 cash;
Jesse Foster of London, Range Rover Evoque, or $50,000 cash;
Frank Schindler of London, BMW 128i Coupe, or $50,000 cash;
Patricia Deneau of Chatham, Jayco Travel Trailer, or $25,000 cash;
Kathryn MacDonald of London, Glastron GT boat, or $25,000 cash;
Mike Sheppard of Bayfield, 14-day Peru trip for two, or $25,000 cash;
Albert Dona of Ingersoll, Harley Davidson Blackline motorcycle or $20,000 cash;
Penny Klue of London, Gordon’s Gold Certificate, or $10,000 cash;
Jeff Bolton of London , St. Andrews Scotland seven-night golf package, or $10,000 cash;
Muriel Jackson of Port Stanley, St. Lucia seven-night spa package, or $10,000 cash; and
Ron Lawton of Sarnia, Rhine River seven-day cruise, or $10,000 cash.
In addition to unveiling the ultimate grand prize winner, officials also unveiled the 12 grand prize winners. The grand prize winners will be listed on the lottery’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/dreamitwinit. All winners will be listed at www.dreamitwinit.ca beginning June 29.
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