THUNDER BAY — "Oh my god, oh my god" were the only words that Darlene McEachran could utter when she found out she had won a massive lottery prize from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
The 68-year-old Thunder Bay woman initially had no idea she was the big winner of the SickKids Foundations's Catch The Ace fundraiser.
McEachran was away on an annual camping trip when the draw took place, and was out of cellphone range.
It was only when she returned to an area with service that she saw a stream of missed calls and messages from SickKids representatives.
"When I saw my phone...I assumed the calls were to tell me I had won the weekly draw. You always hope you can win the big jackpot but you never think it will actually happen. I was speechless," McEachran said.
She did win the weekly prize – about $69,000 – but also took the $2,338,000 progressive jackpot. It's the largest-ever online Catch The Ace jackpot recorded in Ontario.
The grandmother of four said she's always dreamt of taking her whole family to Hawaii, and hopes they will all be able to travel together after the COVID-19 pandemic is brought to heel.
Over the course of 39 weeks, the SickKids Foundation handed out a total of $3.89 million in cash prizes to 39 participants, representing half the pot.
The same amount was raised for the SickKids VS Limits campaign, which aims to collect $1.5 billion by 2023.