A St. Catharines retiree and grandmother of four who won the $10 million Lotto Max draw for June 19 has already started making up her shopping list.
“You always wish it to happen, but when it does, it hits hard. It’s been a wide range of emotions, from joy to anxiety,” said Dirkje McKay, 69.
In addition to McKay, two other Niagara residents were also able to claim major prizes this week after the OLG prize centre reopened, by appointment only, after being closed since March due to COVID-19.
McKay said she normally plays her birthday numbers but won the big prize using Quick Pick, on a free play, in an OLG release.
“We were in shock,” she said, adding she was with her best friend when she checked her lottery numbers.
“We called my son-in-law and asked him to double-check the numbers. I read the numbers out to him and the further along we got, the more emotional we all became. By the last number, we were all crying.”
McKay, who has three children, bought her ticket at Linwell Variety, on Grantham Avenue in St. Catharines.
“I’ll buy a little home with my own washer-dryer and central air,” she said, adding she also plans to buy her best friend a new car.
“This win allows me to live a life that is focused on my comfort.”
Two other Niagara residents — Richard Porter, 63, of St. Catharines and Donald Parode, 62, of Fort Erie — also claimed million-dollar prizes this week.
Porter, 63, of St. Catharines, won the $1 million guaranteed prize in the April 4 Lotto 6/49.
A retired transit driver and father of two, he said he has played the lottery regularly for 31 years.
Porter, who purchased his ticket in Oakville, said he plans to pay off his mortgage and help his daughter, who was laid off during the pandemic.
“We will also make some donations to animal protection groups and foster and adopt more dogs,” he said.
“Our family can’t believe it. They are so happy for us.”
Parode, who said he is also a regular lottery player, won his $1 million in the Feb. 21 Lotto Max Maxmillions draw.
He said he checked his tickets at a variety store and at first thought the $1-million message he saw on the self-scanner screen was a promotion.
“I didn’t realize my win until I handed my ticket to the retailer and the lottery terminal froze. I was stunned,” said Parode.
The winning ticket was purchased at 7-Eleven on Drummond Road in Niagara Falls.
He said the experience of winning the lottery has been surreal.
“You can’t image your reaction unless you live it yourself.”
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The father of one said he plans to invest, undertake some home renovations and travel when the time is right.
“I’m a beach guy. I want to visit all the places in the Beach Boys song, ‘Kokomo.’”
Currently, OLG is reaching out to major prize winners who have been unable to claim their winnings due to COVID-19 to schedule appointments for in-person claims.
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