It was a dream come true for Sue Murphy.
On Thursday morning, the London woman received one of the best phone calls of her life as she learned that she had been chosen as the ultimate grand prize winner for the 2019 Dream Lottery.
“I thought it was a joke,” Murphy said. Her disbelief was shared by her husband, Dennis Reed, who first learned of the news while at work.
“She called me and I went, ‘this is a joke.'”
The couple has spent 10 years buying tickets for the Dream Lottery, but have never had any luck.
The local lottery boasts massive prizes, and Thursday’s draw sees Murphy come away with a choice between one of two “dream homes” or $1-million in cash.
“We don’t know what we’re going to do yet,” Murphy said, adding that the prize will be a big help with the holidays now in full swing. She joked she may now be able to upgrade from her 1999 Ford Escape — an SUV Murphy says has been the target of friendly ridicule.
“We’ll be able to take the grand kids to Disney,” Reed added.
Another lucky soul was found west of London as Aline Wirtanen of Sarnia was named the winner of the Dream Lottery’s record-breaking 50/50 prize.
The news was announced in a phone call from Michelle Campbell, CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation, who informed Wirtanen that she had won more than $500,000.
“Yeah, that’s nice,” replied the cool-headed winner.
Since 1996, the Dream Lottery has raised nearly $38-million for the St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation, the London Health Sciences Foundation, and the Children’s Health Foundation.
This year saw nearly $2-million raised with the lottery pulling in a record-breaking 50/50 prize pool of more than $1-million.
With another sold-out year, Thursday’s prize draw arrived well ahead of the original planned date of Jan. 8, 2020.