A Nova Scotia woman says she never thought she would become a millionaire and win the biggest 50-50 draw in the province’s history.
On Thursday evening, Kayla Eldridge was announced as the winner of the Nova Scotia Firefighters 50-50 online draw, which has been described as the largest draw of its kind in the province’s history.
Eldridge won a staggering $1,467,620.
“I never thought in a million years that something like this would happen to me,” she said.
Eldridge, who works as an LPN while taking part-time courses to become a registered nurse, said she learned of her earnings when a call came in from Amherst without any caller ID.
She said she was hesitant to answer because she didn’t know anyone from that Nova Scotia town.
Nova Scotia woman wins $1.4 million in firefighter’s record 50-50 draw
“They asked if it was Kayla, do you have anyone with you, are you seated,” she continued. “And then they told me I had just won.”
“I started crying.”
The 50-50 raffle, which aims to raise funds to support firefighters across the province, is a weekly online jackpot hosted by Nova Scotia Firefighters 50-50, a non-profit group.
The total jackpot was $2.9 million, with 269 departments receiving the remaining proceeds from ticket sales after the split.
Eldridge said the first thing she plans to do is use the money to pay off her remaining student loan debt.
“It’s pretty exciting to not have to worry about student debt anymore. I went to school several times, so I have quite a bit of student debt,” she said.
She also hopes to buy a new house with a little more storage space. She said she plans to give her current home to her brother and 5-year-old nephew once she moves out.
Asked about her decision to buy tickets for the draw, Eldridge revealed that she bought them “at the last minute”, just before the deadline.
“I only spent ten dollars, I got three numbers, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to win,” she said.
As for her holiday plans, she said the exciting news hasn’t changed how she plans to spend Christmas.
“I’m going to spend Christmas with my family,” she said. “Go to my parents’ for dinner tonight, then go to my aunt’s for a party later.”
She said she was just glad to have a few days off for the holidays.
Eldridge purchased her tickets to support the Hantsport Fire Department, which means her local fire station will receive a $1,000 bonus on top of the amount she will receive from the original split.
“In an area like this, all of our firefighters are volunteers and they’re an integral part of our community, so helping them is really a no-brainer,” she said.
The next Nova Scotia Firefighters 50-50 online draw will take place on December 29.