The big winners of the summer Dream Lottery were tough to get a hold of Thursday morning (July 11).
First lottery officials phoning from the London dream home on Waterside Cross (off Sunningdale Drive) misdialed and got a radio station. Then they got the voicemail of dream home winner John Kennedy and the daughter of Daniel Gaudenzi, winner of the first-ever 50/50 Plus draw.
There was no alternate contact information listed for Kennedy, a London man, so officials drove out to his home in hopes of finding someone.
Gaudenzi’s daughter answered his home phone in Sarnia, and gave officials his cell number.
“Oh my God” was about all Gaudenzi could utter once he found out he was the winner of about $414,000 cash. He said he wasn’t sure whether he could drive down to the Forest City dream home to pick up his cheque.
The lottery program draws twice a year and benefits the Children’s Health Foundation, the St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation and the London Health Sciences Foundation.
Children’s Health Foundation president and CEO Susan Crowley said the buzz about the choice of three dream homes, the house in North west London, a Renaissance condo downtown and a luxury cottage in Grand Bend, or $1 million cash, plus the first 50/50 draw held by a lottery in Ontario drove ticket sales.
She said 94 percent of the tickets available, or about 229,000 were sold. Another 6,000 were given away as prizes. In all more than $22.6 million has been raised by the past 19 draws. Thursday’s draw was number 20.
“It was my honour today to (draw) the ultimate grand prize winner,” Crowley said after the draw. “It’s really a necessary lottery for us to raise money for specialized paediatric equipment. Given they range in size from preemie babies to full-sized adults, there’s a lot of additional costs and additional scope to the specialized equipment they need.”
There were more than 2,000 other prizes drawn Thursday morning, including cars, trips to South America, Europe and the Carribbean, jewelry and gift cards.
The complete winners list will be posted at www.dreamitwinit.ca.