2018 STARS Lottery kicks off in Lethbridge

2018 STARS lottery kicks off in Lethbridge
WATCH: The 2018 STARS lottery launched in Lethbridge on Thursday. As Quinn Campbell reports, this year's Lethbridge STARS home has special meaning.

At just 11 weeks old, Leo Kolebaba nearly lost his life.

“We went to the hospital thinking he just had a little cold, and it went from a little case of pneumonia to ambulances coming to get him, to an air plane is coming to get him, to ‘you better say goodbye, STARS is coming to get him,’ said Leo’s mom Mandy Kolebaba.

The now three-year-old made a full recovery and Mandy said STARS is part of the reason he is still here today.

His big brother Jack was so affected by the experience, Mandy said he’s turned his birthdays into fundraisers.

“Instead of having presents, he asked everyone to bring $5 for STARS. Then we got to go to the hanger and drop it off, so that was pretty fantastic… He’s done that the last two years.”

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The family is helping STARS kick off its biggest fundraiser of the year — the annual lottery.

Jeff Morris is the director of operations for STARS. He says the fundraiser is critical to the organization.

“It is what keeps us going. Our service is your service. STARS is your service. We couldn’t do it without it.

“We certainly get some small government support but the majority comes from donors, allies and supporters from the community.”

Two of those allies are Mike and Val Lowen of Van Arbor Homes. They built the nearly $900,000 home in Canyon Estates.

“We are very proud of this home. It’s a 1,720-square-foot home,” added Val.

The Lowens know all too well the tragic outcome some emergency situations can lead to. The couple experienced their own medical emergency in 1991, which inspired them to get involved.

“When we began to think about what this home meant to us, we decided that we would like to dedicate this home to the memory of our oldest daughter Jenna Michele Lowen, who was born March 27, 1991 and died July 14, 1991,” said Lowen.

The home has some unique features, like a hidden pantry and its own private move theatre.

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The Kolebaba famiy said they support STARS and hope the community steps up and buys tickets.

“It’s our mission as a family to do whatever we can to make sure that they stay in the sky,” Mandy said.

For a full list of prizes, draw dates and to purchase tickets, click here.