When Bill and Daphne Jennings received a phone call Saturday afternoon informing them they were the grand prize winners in the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation’s Lotto for Life, their initial thought was one of their sons was playing an early April Fools Day prank.
But Christine McAuley, foundation board chairwoman, soon convinced the Qualicum Beach couple. Bill’s name was drawn in the 19th annual lottery, and they were indeed $100,000 richer.
“Bill could only repeat the phrase ‘is this for real?’” said McAuley.’
The couple purchase two Lotto for Life tickets every year, not only “because of the odds of winning on only 5,000 tickets,” but also because they have each received medical care at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and sing the praises of the professionalism they have always encountered.
Randi Grey, of Nanaimo, was the second-prize winner and received the keys to a 2012 Buick Regal.
Ruth Peters of Parksville had her name drawn third and will be soon driving a 2012 Kia Soul.
Final numbers are not in, but all proceeds from the Lotto for Life will benefit the foundation’s pledge to raise $4 million toward the purchase of essential equipment for the $36.9 million emergency department expansion at NRGH.
The new ER will triple in size, serving more than 160,000 people from Bowser to Ladysmith. It is scheduled to open this summer.
Maeve O’Byrne, president of the hospital foundation, said the lottery couldn’t take place without the ongoing support of community partners who help provide prizes and sell tickets at their outlets.
“We also have a wonderfully devoted crew of volunteers who support the Lotto for Life every year,” she said.
For a full list of winners, please visit www.nanaimohospitalfoundation.com/lotto.