IMG_0335The Patsula’s are a wonderfully normal, down to earth family. Ken and Reni have lived in Sherwood Park for 15 years with their two kids – Tyler (15) and Kelly (12). They have jobs with the government and the county, and spend much of their time keeping their kids busy. Tyler is active with hockey and basketball and Kelly enjoys dance and ringette. Both are learning the piano.

Since 2006, Ken and Reni have been avid Dream Home ticket buyers, and while the idea of winning was fun, they really connected to the important work of providing better futures for our community’s kids.

It was a family tradition to visit the home, buy tickets, and jokingly let Tyler and Kelly pick out their bedrooms. Tyler also always had his eye out for a room that could be commandeered for his personal gaming centre.

“We’d laugh at the kids,” says Reni. “Because you never really believe that you will actually win – or have the chance to move in.”

But 2014 would become a year they would never forget when their name was drawn for our stunning $1.5 Million grand prize Dream Home.

“I actually received the call from Kelly Micetich from BGCBigs the next morning – I hadn’t noticed that there was a message the night before when they did the draw,” Ken explains. “My wife was back and forth from Calgary for a dance competition so we were both busy with the kids’ activities.  When Kelly told me we won, I really didn’t believe it.  I went to look for my ticket but panicked when I couldn’t find it. I pulled out Dream Home 31, 32, 33 until I finally found the right ones. I was trying to call Reni at work but she kept ignoring my call because she was in a meeting. When she finally called me back she didn’t believe it either.  I had sent her the link to the website at work and she opened it and saw our names next to ‘grand prize winners’.  We were both in shock – sometimes it’s still hard to believe. We came by later that day to see the home again but it still didn’t seem like it could really be ours.”

Ken and Reni picked their kids up from school that day and drove over to their Dream Home. The kids were confused, wondering why they were at the house again since they’d already toured it. Ken and Reni told the kids they could pick their bedrooms – for real this time. The look on the kids’ faces was priceless.

“They were in shock too,” Ken says.

At the end of May when the home officially switched to their names, the family arrived in the driveway with cars packed full of their belongings. Three months later when we stopped by for a visit, the home looked lived-in and homey. They swapped some of the furniture for their own pieces, moved breakables a bit higher up, and converted the hockey room into a gaming centre – just like Tyler always wanted.

“We gave away lots of the things from our last home,” Ken says. “We donated to Value Village because of their partnership with BGCBigs through Renew Crew and they gave me a 40 percent off coupon because I gave them so much stuff!”

Selling their last home was a bit of a hard decision for the family; it had been their home for 15 years. But the old place didn’t have a garage for Ken and the Dream Home was still close to the kids’ school. “There was no reason not to move in,” Reni says.

“Winning the Dream Home has been wonderful for us. We are more financially secure and we’ve been congratulated by what feels like the entire community,” says Ken. “We never thought we would win, but if you don’t buy a ticket then you never have a chance. For us buying tickets is a way for us to support the charity with a chance of winning. Even though our chances of winning again are probably next to none, we plan on continuing to support BGCBigs through their Dream Home lottery.”

In fact, the Patsula’s are also donating to the agency in other ways now, sending us away at the end of our visit with a cheque for our programs.

Our Dream Home and Win50 lotteries ensure we can continue to change the lives of kids and families. And, we get to give our homes to wonderful families like the Patsulas.  Congratulations to the Patsula family and thank you, sincerely, to each of you who continue to help make our Dream Home and Win50 lotteries successful.

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