With all the bad news that has accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic, there was finally some good news handed out by the Red Deer Regional Hospital Foundation.
Friday, it announced the 10 winners in the 2020 Red Deer Hospital Lottery, including the dream home winner and the Mega Bucks 50/50 winner.
Debby Irwin of Stettler was the recipient of the brand new home, valued at $840,000. When she got the call, Irwin thought someone was joking around with her.
“It’s fabulous news,” said Irwin, who owns a small business with her husband in the town.
“I didn’t believe (it). I thought someone was pulling a prank on me. It’s fabulous, so exciting.”
Irwin and her husband have lived in Stettler for most of their lives, but are nearing retirement. And with two grandkids, they are thinking this might be the perfect time to make a move.
Irwin said she usually tries to support the hospital lottery and couldn’t believe her luck this time around.
“I try to with the hospital, because I know they’re trying to do some expansions, and I just thought it’s a really good thing to donate money to,” she said.
Trevor Greenlee of Red Deer took home the Mega Bucks 50/50 prize, collecting $371,587.50.
The 73-year-old said he’s a regular buyer of the hospital lottery ticket and was in disbelief when he got the call Friday.
“It’s awesome. I’ve never won anything like this in my life before,” said Greenlee, adding he hopes to give some of the money to his two kids and his grandson.
While there was plenty of joy for the winners, there were also smiles all around from the hospital foundation staff, who, with the money raised, will be able to provide new mechanical ventilators for the Red Deer Hospital.
Foundation CEO Manon Therriault said the pandemic made this year a challenging one, but it turned out as well as they could have imagined.
“With COVID-19, everything shut down, so we were only selling tickets online. We anticipated some challenges, and we were expecting to require an extension, but we didn’t this year. It really shows how much people truly care about our community and health care in general,” Therriault said.
“Ticket sales were great and we were able to double the Mega Bucks this year… it was just wonderful to see people continue to support the hospital foundation and give the prizes away to some deserving winners.”
Therriault said the foundation isn’t sure exactly how much was raised overall, or how many ventilators it will be able to buy, but the bottom line is it will help big time.
“It’s equipment that is aging and needs to be replaced. So to be able to do that this year, for our hospital, is a great feeling,” she said.