Leamington woman wins big in London hospital's 'Dream Lottery'

Big winners in London hospitals' Dream Lottery unveiled

Women from Breslau, Leamington named winners of fall Dream Lottery

Mary Difrancisco of Leamington will be deciding between a $1.8-million Millstone Home in southwest London, a downtown condo by Tricar plus $500,000 cash or a $1-million cash prize after being named the grand prize victor. The winners were announced inside a Silver Creek Circle home.

The victor of the region's largest 50/50 was also revealed Thursday morning.

Initially in disbelief, Defrancisco says she was anxious it might be a bad joke and didn't want to invest a lot of emotion in the win until she confirmed it.

Defrancisco's past efforts to win big through the lottery had never paid off and that losing streak almost led her to not purchase a ticket this time around.

Along with Defrancisco's big win, Dream Lottery staff announced the victor of the lottery's 50/50 draw: Heather Whyte of Breslau, who will receive $439,927.50.

Whyte then expressed her appreciation.

Defrancisco told Dream Lottery staff that members of her family have been under the care of the London Health Sciences Centre, and she has bought Dream Lottery tickets before to support the hospitals.

"I feel like I'm being pranked right now", Whyte said after hearing the news, her voice coming through the speakerphone and sparking laughter from a crowd of officials representing the hospitals that benefit from the lottery. "I don't know what to say, it's incredible".

Whyte says she is grateful for the healthcare system in the region and the work done at London's regional hospitals.

Officials say the Dream Lottery didn't sell out this year, but it did raise more than $1 million for London Health Sciences Foundation, Children's Health Foundation and St. Joseph's Health Care Foundation.

"The Dream Lottery project creates unrestricted dollars for our hospitals to explore innovative ideas, to bring in new medical technology that we may not otherwise be able to secure through our capital process". That will enable some of our seniors living at Mount Hope to escape through virtual reality.

"There is the side with the prizes and the winning and getting to tell people they have won a prize which can be very life changing depending on which prize they win", said Campbell. "The other side is everybody wins because the monies all stay in London".

Preparations for the spring edition of the lottery, which will launch in March, are already underway.

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