It’s a dream come true for more than two dozen past and current employees of Fanshawe College.
Their ticket, which they wound up receiving for free, was pulled in the grand prize draw of the 2017 Fall Dream Lottery on Thursday morning.
One of the members of the group, Karen Kloibhofer, was home sick from work and got the call first from lottery officials. She told 980 CFPL after arriving at the Dream Home on Ironwood Road in Byron, she wasn’t sure if her husband was playing a prank on her.
“I’m looking at the name on the phone and of course I didn’t recognize the name and I could hear all the noise in the background,” Kloibhofer said.
“All I could think was ‘Sure, on the day that I’m home sick this happens,’ because all these crazy people are going to be at work screaming their heads off and I really wanted to be there.”
Jennifer Lee didn’t immediately believe they’d won the grand prize when Kloibhofer called her with the news and it took a social media post from 980 CFPL for her to really accept they were the lucky ticket-holders.
“Karen is a real trickster and jokester and we’re back and forth a lot with practical jokes so I wasn’t sure (if) I should believe it or not, and then we saw it on Twitter,” Lee said.
“So you don’t believe me, but you believe Twitter?” Kloibhofer asked incredulously.
“Yah, I believe Twitter,” Lee said with a laugh.
Dream Lottery spokesperson Rita Fieder said the win is even more remarkable as the ticket the group won with was free. One of the group’s original ballots was pulled when drawing for additional free tickets and it was the freebie that was picked during the grand prize draw.
“I don’t recall this ever happening, this is amazing,” Fieder told 980 CFPL. “I don’t even recall having a group win.”
“It doesn’t get any better than that, 25 winners, this is amazing.”
“I never would have dreamt that this is the outcome we would have today.”
As for what the group plans to do with their prize, Kloibhofer told 980 CFPL they’re starting simple.
“I think we’re going for dinner,” she chuckled. “We’ll figure it out from there.”
The group will have the choice of claiming one of two “dream homes” or $1 million in cash.
Kloibhofer noted they had a plan prior to their win, but they want to make sure everyone is still on the same page. Some of the winners are from out of town and work at different Fanshawe campuses and hadn’t had a chance to see their friends and colleagues in person yet.
Lottery officials also announced the winner of the 50/50 jackpot Thursday morning, saying Mark Stekar of Kilworth would be awarded $480,345.
Proceeds from the Dream Lottery support London’s hospital foundations and allow for enhanced patient care, innovative equipment, education and research at the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), Children’s Hospital at LHSC and St. Joseph’s Health Care, London.
Officials say the local hospitals receive more than 1.5 million patient-visits every year from people across southwestern Ontario and beyond.
— With files from Jake Jeffrey