LONDON, Ont. – An October visit by T.V. stars Mike Holmes and his daughter Sherry to the Dream Lottery’s prize home created quite a buzz. The lottery - which supports London Health Sciences Centre, Children's Hospital at LHSC, and St. Joseph’s Health Care London - went on to sell 87 per cent of available tickets, pushing net proceeds from the lottery to almost $29 million since 1996.
Sherry, who returned to the home yesterday to help draw the lottery’s final two prizes, says it’s great to see a “Holmes Approved Home” builder like Wastell Homes so involved in their community. London Health Sciences Foundation President & CEO John MacFarlane agrees that community support is extremely important.
“From our home builder and lottery suppliers, to the Holmes Group and - most of all - the people who buy Dream tickets, community support continues to help our hospitals care for the most critically injured and medically complex patients from across the region,” says MacFarlane.
The draws kicked off at 8:45 a.m. as Sherry pulled 50/50 PlusTM ticket number 5140412 purchased by Kevin Harding of London, who wins half of the $880,170 jackpot.
Sherry’s brother, Mike Holmes Jr., was also on hand to help with the draws. He toured the hospitals this past fall and says he’s impressed how the work of doctors, researchers and staff change people’s lives every day. At 9:15 a.m., he changed a life too, by drawing ticket number 170091 for the Dream Lottery’s Ultimate Grand Prize - the choice between the “Holmes Approved Home” with a Mercedes-Benz GCL C300, or $1 million cash. The winning ticket holder is Brenda Held of London.
“No way,” Held exclaimed when Children’s Health Foundation’s Chief Development Officer Sherri Bochinni reached her by phone.
When Held and her husband John came to the home later that morning, it was still sinking in.
“When she (Bocchini) put Mike Holmes Jr. on the phone, and I heard the cheering in the background, I thought - this might be real,” says Held. “But it still doesn’t feel real.”
The Knights-themed hockey rink in the prize home’s basement added a unique twist to the win. Held’s husband and son are both former Knights, but it wasn’t the chance to snag the ultimate grand prize – or any prize - that was the reason behind their ticket purchase.
“I never thought of winning. It’s such a great cause. I have a lot of family working for the hospital,” Held said.
Bochinni says the lottery hears from many supporters who think the same way.
“Winning the Dream can change someone’s life, but the real impact is when Dream Lottery supporters buy tickets - and by doing so, make a meaningful difference in the lives of so many children and their families at our hospitals,” Bochinni adds.
Update: It took a day and another tour of the home with extended family, but Held decided to go with the $1 million cash option.
All winning numbers for the lottery were drawn under the supervision of accountants of record from the firm Deloitte LLP. The primary purchaser of each winning ticket will be notified by mail by Deloitte LLP. Major prize winners may also be notified by phone. A complete list of winners will be published in Our London on January 26, posted online at www.dreamitwinit.ca the same day. A printed list of winners will also be available upon request by calling 1-866-319-9818.