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Lottery win for long-time donor

For Carole Strain and her family, winning first prize in the Heart Foundation Lottery is another reminder of how precious our hearts are.

After both her father and father-in-law suffered heart attacks, Carole began buying Lottery tickets in 2001 to support the fight against heart disease. 

And while she’s thrilled to have won a stunning Jennian dream home in Wanaka, her thoughts are also very much with her great nephew Ryan, who died last year at just five-weeks-old to a rare congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. 

The Heart Foundation’s work to prevent, treat and cure heart disease is something Carole cares about passionately – even more so since little Ryan’s passing. 

“Hopefully with their research and education programmes, more people will be cured and live better, healthier lives.”

It’s been more than a month since Carole found out she’d won the Lottery but it hasn’t sunk in yet. 

“It was only ever a donation – I never expected to win,” she says. “It is still surreal … when I took the phone call I didn’t quite believe it. I rang my husband and said ‘I’ve won a house’ and he asked if it was a scam.”

Carole and her husband Stephen live in Wellington and plan to hold on to the house as a long-term investment for retirement. 

They and their two children, a son aged 23 and a daughter aged 20, are keen mountain-bikers so will make good use of Wanaka’s world-class trails. 

“My two kids are also very excited that their inheritance has gone up!” she says laughing. 

One person who’s been a little less enthusiastic about the win is Carole’s mum. 

“My mother’s been buying tickets for years as well. She’s a little annoyed she didn’t win because she’s bought more tickets than me!”

Carole and Stephen, who became Lottery Auto-Buyer in 2005, went down to pick up their keys and check out the new house last month. 

“Even though we’ve been there it’s still unreal. The house was lovely and the design very functional. We especially liked the little computer area and the shelves in the entrance way. The house didn’t need much heating as it was situated well to catch the sun and the gas fire was used more for ambience.”

Carole will continue buying tickets for the Lottery and is especially supportive of the Heart Foundation’s ongoing investment in research projects and education.

“Thank you to the Heart Foundation for this amazing prize. Thank you for all the fantastic work you all do.” 

Carole says she has been telling all her friends about the Lottery and hopes many will now come on board. 

“A lot of people have said ‘I’ve never known someone who’s won anything’ and they’ve started buying tickets.”

Make sure you don’t miss out on a chance to win more than $500,000 worth of prizes by purchasing a $15 ticket in our latest Lottery. You’ll also help us make a difference for thousands of New Zealanders affected by heart disease. 

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