BERWICK, NS - Members of a lottery pool at Berwick Family Dentistry have more than good oral health to smile about this holiday season.
There is a group of nine members - eight individuals and a couple - who each purchase a Lotto Max ticket every week. They put the nine tickets together in the same pot.
Receptionist Kendra Balcom said she had the tickets for the Nov. 23 draw scanned at the Independent Grocer on Nov. 26. One came up a winner and she was prompted to contact the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC).
“I knew we won something, I had no clue what it was. I think the lady at the cash register was more excited than I was,” Balcom said.
This quickly changed after she called ALC and they verified the ticket. Balcom was told that they had won $100,000 on TAG. This meant a windfall of more than $11,000 for each of the nine ticket purchasers.
Since checking the tickets is normally a quick, straight forward process, she messaged her co-workers to tell them she was going to be late. At first, they didn’t believe the reason why. Balcom said she got back to the office and explained what happened. The reality then started to sink in for the other members of the ticket pool. They arranged a time to visit the ALC office in Halifax and claimed the prize.
Although Balcom has been a member of the ticket pool for about five years, others have been participating for close to nine. She said they had a few small wins before but nothing close to $100,000. The group members plan to continue buying tickets. After all, an ALC representative told them they’d be surprised how many people win more than once.
Balcom said she doesn’t have big plans for her winnings but the money would certainly make Christmas easier. She plans to put on a Christmas dinner for her family members and said she would probably hold on to the rest of the money for the time being.
Dentist Dr. Amanda Steadman said everyone seems happy for them and “we just got lucky.” The win came as quite a surprise and she admits that she didn’t believe it when Balcom first broke the news.
“I still think it’s quite surreal,” Steadman said. “I’ve never known anyone to win the lottery, so to be able to say I did now is kind of cool.”
She said the prize money is “a nice little Christmas gift for us.” Her husband’s family lives in England and they’re planning a family vacation for next summer, so she may use some of her winnings for that.
Steadman said they play the lottery every week for fun. They never expected to win anything big. She said they probably won’t win again but, if they do, that’s great. After all, it’s fun to dream and “you never know.”
“Some of our patients were joking, ‘I’m glad you didn’t win the $60 million because you might not be here,’” Steadman said.
Dental assistant Marie Roland said the lotto win is “a nice bonus” heading into the holidays. She didn’t believe the news at first but disbelief quickly changed to excitement. Roland said that although they didn’t necessarily expect it, the members of the ticket pool were always hopeful of a significant win and this kept them going.
Roland said her friends and family members are all very happy for her. She’ll probably use her winnings for some home upgrades or renovations and she plans to share her good fortune with her children.
Although some people are skeptical of spending money on lottery tickets, as Roland pointed out, “somebody has to win.” She believes in the power of positive thinking and said they would win again.
The other winners include Adam and Tara Steadman; Heather Steadman, Lynn Robertson, Karen Alcoe-Guest, Mary Ellen Lonergan and Michelle Long.