Twenty-eight years after their eight-month-old suffered a brain hemorrhage and had to be airlifted by STARS Air Ambulance, Lacombe’s Brent and Sue Sage were named winners of the STARS lottery dream home.
Brittni Sage suffered an aneurysm and had to be moved from Red Deer to the University of Alberta Hospital. Not able to go with her in the air, the couple had to make what was the longest drive of their lives, not knowing if she was going to survive.
“Our daughter was saved by STARS and she’s 28 years old today. Ever since they did that, I’ve purchased tickets every year,” said Brent. “Quite honestly, it’s never been to win something. I know it sounds funny, but I just wanted to pay it back since they saved her. It’s been automatic that we’ve bought tickets.
“It’s pretty surreal. We’re more surprised and shocked than anything else – I never thought we’d win a house.”
Ironically, he says they normally buy a package of five or six tickets. This year, with the economy and cutting work back, they only bought three. It was the middle of the three that won.
It wasn’t until he got a call, however, from his son whose boss had watched the draw live on T.V. that he found out he had won. He passed along a clip of the drawing, and sure enough, it was Brent Sage’s name that had been drawn for the dream home in Calgary.
“It kind of made it more real, but it was a pretty hectic day for emotions,” he said. “We’re still in a little bit of shock.”
The possession date for the show home is May 25, 2018, but as active citizens in Lacombe, the Sages will not be relocating.
Brent says he’s surprised how many people they know have asked them if they’re moving.
“If you know us, it shouldn’t even be a question,” he said. “If it was up to my daughter, yeah, we’d be moving, but moving isn’t on our radar.”
They plan to sell the home, and put monies towards paying off their mortgage, finishing renovations in their own home, investing in retirement and generally just making life a little more comfortable.
“It’ll mean a little more peace of mind,” he said. “We like to travel to Mexico, so it might mean we go south a bit more, but we’re definitely not moving. We’re both still working and doing our thing.”
The STARS lottery is in its 25th year and is the largest fundraiser for STARS.Tickets for this year’s lottery were 95 per cent sold, resulting in approximately $10 million net for STARS.
Brent says he hopes his win will perhaps create more awareness and inspiration for people to contribute to STARS and help them continue to do what they do.
“To me, it’s the most important foundation that is out there,” he said. “Look at what they did two weeks ago in Humboldt – that’s what it’s all about.
“We sometimes take them for granted, knowing that if something happens, they’ll be there. It’s important people realize they’re not 100 per cent government funded and support them because incidents like that are right there in the background.”
Other grand prize winners include Frank and Bev Kehoe of St. Albert who won the Edmonton Show ($975,000 retail value), Boris Ovtchinnikov of Calgary who won the Lethbridge show home ($892,500 retail value), and George Wheaton of Calgary who won $500,000 Dream Fund.
Further prize winners and more information on the STARS lottery can be found online at starslotteryalberta.ca.