The 2015 Hospitals’ Lottery Dream Home winners John and Glenda Van Gaal want to give back after receiving so much.
The Red Deer couple had the winning ticket drawn on Monday for the $799,000 grand prize dream home.
They couldn’t believe their good fortune when they were notified by phone shortly after 1 p.m.
Walking up the driveway of the two-storey, three-bedroom home at 86 Lazaro Close a short time later, they were still reeling from their big win.
“This is not a dream. It’s really happening,” said John Van Gaal, 58, when they arrived to tour their gorgeous new home for the first time.
Built by Sorento Custom Homes, the home with over 3,000 square feet of finished space is a beauty. It has interior maple wood beams, quartz countertops, a double-sided brick fireplace and many other stunning features.
It was the top prize in the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation lottery.
“You buy tickets for years and years and years and you sure don’t expect it,” said Glenda Van Gaal, 66.
Her husband said it was only a week ago that she told him that she wished their name was on the winning dream home ticket.
“She did say it. I heard her say it.”
Coincidently, they received the call about their win right after Glenda had driven a neighbour to the Red Deer hospital for tests.
“We can’t be too long because I have to pick her up again,” Glenda said with a smile before going on a tour of the home.
The couple moved into Red Deer three years ago from Bentley.
“We just downsized into a townhouse development where they look after our lawn and shovel our snow because I’m on disability,” he said.
They said it was doubtful that they would keep the dream home, and intend to donate some money from its sale back to the hospital.
Only 85 per cent of lottery tickets were sold as of June 21 so sales were extended an extra week.
In the end, just over 93,000 lottery tickets were sold, or a little more than 90 per cent of tickets.
“We didn’t do a sellout this year, which we’re sad about, but nonetheless we’re calling a success. Normally there are 105,000 tickets in the bin,” said Cynthia De Boer, project officer with the health foundation.
She said the lottery raised about $800,000 through lottery ticket sales, and the Mega Bucks Jackpot 50-50 raffle that pulled in $450,000.
Susanna Hilz of Red Deer won the $225,000 Mega Bucks raffle.
A total of 450 lottery prizes, including vehicles, vacations and electronics, were awarded.
Money raised by the lottery will be put towards cardiac enhancements in four departments at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre — emergency, cardiac intensive care, inpatient cardiology and telemetry, and inpatient acute stroke units.
“This is one of major fundraisers and very important to us, very important to the hospital and certainly to all Central Albertans,” De Boer said.