By: Mike Anderson

Meghan Savoie never considered herself lucky, until she picked envelope number 31. 

That envelope contained the Ace of Spades, and Ms. Savoie, 27, won a jackpot that had been accumulating for more than 50 weeks without a winner. The total prize was $52,525.50. 

“I never thought this was going to happen in a million years,” says Ms. Savoie, who brought a bouquet-of-flowers for the Hospice volunteers when she picked up her cheque. “I never won something like this, so it’s a huge surprise and so much fun.”

Ms. Savoie hopes her win will encourage others to play and result in bigger jackpots and more funds raised for Hospice Georgina. “It’s such a great thing, and I’m glad to be part of it,” she says. 

If you haven’t played Catch the Ace, it’s not complicated. Every week a new set of $5 tickets is sold, and if your name is pulled, you get to select one of the 52 envelopes from a poster board.

Each envelope contains a playing card. Select the envelope that contains the Ace of Spades, and you win a percentage of the weekly proceeds, plus the progressive jackpot – the amount that rolls-over each week if there’s no winner. 

According to Laurie Knapp, Hospice Georgina’s office manager, this is the first year the non-profit has run the fundraising raffle, and it won’t be the last. 

She says the first week started-off slow with just over 100 tickets sold, but by week 50, that number jumped to 3,400. 

The first game of Catch the Ace raised more than $70,000 for Hospice Georgina. Ms. Knapp hopes to have the next game up and running in March, and there are plans to sell the tickets online, which should boost sales. 

Since 1994, Hospice Georgina has provided free-of-charge non-medical support for palliative people, people living with life-threatening, life-limiting and chronic illness, their caregivers and families, and the bereaved. 

The province funds two-thirds of the organization’s budget, but the other third must be raised through fundraising efforts. So, the success of Catch the Ace is a big win for everyone. 

It could also help the organization reach its goal of opening a residential hospice in Georgina, which is sorely needed — the closest residential hospice is in Newmarket. 

“Every time I call Margaret Bahen Hospice, the beds are full, so maybe this can help us open a hospice in Georgina,” says Ms. Knapp. 

Ms. Knapp wants to give a big shout-out to all the volunteers who made Catch the Ace such a success. She says the raffle wouldn’t have operated so smoothly without the countless hours they put in over the 50 weeks. 

“They learned as they went, transforming into a well-oiled machine. But most of all, they did what they do best: Sharing the Caring,” she says.



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