STARS lottery crosses finish line in fine form

It may as well have been a sellout given the relief and gratitude being felt on Friday by those directly involved with Alberta’s Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society, better known as STARS.

A week ago they were worried and a long ways from selling out the annual STARS lottery, with just 84 per cent of tickets sold, STARS spokesperson Fatima Khawaja said Friday.

But on the final day of sales on Tuesday, almost $1 million in sales occurred, boosting the lottery to selling 99.6 per cent of tickets.

“We would consider this a huge win, so humbled and grateful by the amazing turnout by Albertans. We couldn’t be prouder to be Alberta strong today,” she said.

Khawaja attributes the last-minute big success to support from traditional media as well as social media. The lottery is the non-profit air ambulance’s main fundraiser.

“It was phenomenal. We really felt enveloped with that love and pride that Alberta has in STARS. … It’s .4 (unsold), so we’re good. … STARS is going to continue to be there for that next patient.”

The lottery has traditionally been a sellout but STARS and other charities have felt the tougher economic times in Alberta.

Red Deer is the number one destination for STARS, with more flights that anywhere else in Alberta. Last year, it made 80 flights to the city.

Khawaja said STARS people were “high-fiving” after the final sales results rolled in on Wednesday.

“We just hope that all of Alberta knows how much that means to us.”

The final draw begins on April 10 and will be completed on April 13.

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