Former STARS patient Jayden Sorsdahl, 9, of Red Deer, toured a STARS helicopter on Thursday at Red Deer Airport during the public launch of the 2018 STARS Lottery. (Photo by Susan Zielinski/Advocate staff)

UPDATED: STARS LOTTERY is back

Grand prize homes in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge

A Red Deer family wants to remind Central Albertans it’s time to support STARS Lottery.

In March 2015 Jayen Sorsdahl, who was six at the time, was flown to Children’s Hospital in Calgary after his sodium levels plummeted and his organs started to shut down from a rare condition.

“Time was of the essence. If STARS wasn’t here, I don’t think Jayden would be here either. He was failing very quickly and the ER in Red Deer did everything they could but without STARS he probably wouldn’t be here today,” said his mom Melanie on Thursday at the Red Deer STARS LOTTERY launch at Red Deer Airport.

She said he was home for a few days with what appeared to be the flu. Early one morning she was awoken to the sound of him whimpering in his room.

“He was conscious but not responsive. He didn’t know anybody was in the room. You could hear the fear, and see the fear in his eyes.”

He was rushed to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre where staff gave him saline to buy him time, but they did not know what was causing Jayden’s symptoms and the Calgary hospital sent STARS.

“Even though I knew Jayden was in the best possible hands, it was terrifying seeing the team in blue suits come and take our son away,” Melanie said about seeing the STARS team arrive.

She said while driving to Calgary, STARS kept them informed. Jayden had slept through the whole flight and was resting comfortably.

“My husband still has it saved in his phone to remind us where we’ve come from and that he’s okay.”

She said her family is forever indebted to the vital air ambulance service.

“Thank you to all of the STARS supporters. It is people like you that help keep them in the sky and thank you to the crew for all that you’ve done and continue to do.”

STARS air ambulance publicly launched its 25th lottery with 3,034 prizes valued at $4.7 million Thursday. Grand prizes include a dream home in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge, and a $500,000 Dream Fund.

It’s the first time a dream home was not built in Red Deer.

Mike Lamacchia, vice-president of operations for Alberta and Saskatchewan with STARS, said it was time to refresh and enhance the lottery and supporters said they preferred cash prizes.

“People love the house, but then they win the house and it’s in a location they don’t want and then they have to sell it. People said why don’t you just make it a dream prize, like half a million dollars, so that’s what we did this year.”

As of Thursday 50 per cent of lottery tickets were sold, as well as 66 per cent of LUCKY STARS 50/50 tickets.

He said the lottery raises about $11 million to help keep STARS running in Alberta. Last year STARS flew over 1,500 missions and 75 were to Red Deer.

“(Red Deer) is the number one referral centre for us in Alberta so it’s a very important community for us to continue to support,” Lamacchia said.

He said STARS can’t do what it does alone.

“We’ve got a lot of EMS partners. We’ve got our hospital partners. We’ve got police and our fire departments, and a lot of colleagues that make this all work.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Red Deer police recover stolen Second World War German army passport, trying to find owner

A rare, Second World War era German passport was recovered by police… Continue reading

Four Red Deer skiers off to Alberta Winter Games

Four young Red Deer skiers are headed to the Alberta Winter Games.… Continue reading

Hurry Hard: Red Deer Oilmen’s Bonspiel starts on Friday

A January tradition in Red Deer, the Oilmen’s Bonspiel takes to the… Continue reading

City Hall briefly evacuated

Carbon monoxide false alarm behind evacuation

Charges laid in home invasion in Maskwacis

Three people injured with stab wounds

WATCH: Marijuana in the Workplace information luncheon held in Red Deer

Central Alberta businesses need to prepare for the legalization of marijuana. That… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month