Cree-Métis mother says winning $3.2M hospital lottery ‘so unbelievable’

Tanya Lalonde and her family won the grand prize in the CHEO lottery.

Tanya Lalonde, her husband David and their three children Lexi, Emmi and Luka are settling in to their new $2-million home in Manotick, a small neighbourhood in the south of Ottawa.

Lalonde is the grand prize winner of the $3.2 million CHEO Dream of a Lifetime Lottery. The winner was announced on Jan. 4.

For Lalonde, who is Cree-Metis from Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement and Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta, it really is a dream.

“This is something, that’s just so unbelievable for someone who grew up like I did,” Lalonde told APTN News. “I grew up in the foster care system. I was in foster care from the age of 21 months until I was 20 years old.  I lived in, probably about 20 different homes throughout those years, so you know to go from that and to be now sitting here, it’s just, I’m so grateful.”

Lalonde bought the ticket on the last day they were available.

“They’re $100 each, so I didn’t tell my husband because he would, I think, not be very happy for me spending $100 on a ticket, and I just happened to be the winning one,” she said.

The four-bedroom home has five baths and 4, 383 sq. feet of space. It comes fully furnished.

“I think the only thing we really need is like pots, pans, dishes, maybe some towels,” said Lalonde. “We also won free groceries for a year, so we don’t even have to like go grocery shopping, we do, but we don’t have to pay for it, and we won free gas for year and so all of those things, that makes it really nice for us.”

The annual lottery is a major fundraiser for the Children Hospital of Eastern Ontario. The grand prize also includes $100,000 cash, bi-weekly cleaning for one year and a 2023 electric Mustang.

She said it’s a transition for the better, for her kids.

“We had actually just moved in October to a new home. We had to upgrade because we had been living in a smaller home before that, but with two teenagers and a third almost teenager and a dog, we really needed a lot more space,” she said.

“We moved to a new home in October and we actually had to build an extra room for my daughter, so the teenagers could have space in the basement, its a little cold down there, so like they’re really excited to be upstairs and to have these nice big new bedrooms as well.”

According to Lalonde, they’re also getting financial advice.

“We have a team who is advising us for the financial side of things and helping us navigate this very new world,” she said. “I mean we were just two simple people before all this happened, so it’s really nice to have people with expertise.”

Lalonde said they’re looking forward to showing and sharing their new home, “we’ve definitely talked about how to fill it with friends and family holidays here and Thanksgiving dinners and Christmases you know, community celebrations as well.”

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