Demand for air ambulance lottery tickets soars

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It was quite the liftoff.

It only took a week for HALO Air Ambulance to sell 70 per cent of the tickets for its first-ever online lottery.

The pandemic meant the Medicine Hat-based emergency service hasn’t been able to hold most of its traditional fundraisers, so it has come up with a number of new initiatives, including the “Cattle er’ Cash” lottery, which was launched March 4. The winner of the grand prize will have exactly that choice — $50,000 in cash or 20 bred heifers.

Last spring, HALO said the loss of traditional fundraisers combined with very little government funding had left it in “dire straits” and was looking at scaling back or even suspending operations. But that has since been followed by a surge in both donations and unique fundraisers, like the ‘Fry Day’ events (in which bags of fries were given away and the public asked to make donations).

The organization’s fundraising total for 2020 ended up being double the $1.6 million raised the year before, CEO Paul Carolan told Global News. But the organization is still seeking increased funding from Alberta Health to cover more of its operating costs and put it on stable, long-term footing.

It’s hoped the Cattle er’ Cash lottery, which will also pay out $10,000 in smaller amounts, will net the organization $200,000. There are 3,000 tickets (at $100 each) and if the lottery doesn’t sell out early, they will be on sale until Nov. 25. To purchase tickets, go to haloairambulance.com. The bred heifers will be coming from sponsor Highline Angus.

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