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Campbell River mom’s last surprise was her best

Hospital foundation: Young family wins lottery grand prize
The Vanjecek family – that’s Nycky

During her year-long battle with lung cancer, Sandra Ostwald was treated with care and dignity by nursing and medical staff at Campbell River hospital.

With her family by her side Ostwald died in hospital on Feb. 17. She was just 57.

Her brother Bill Burnett of Saskatoon was there too and decided to give back to the hospital, in a small way, to express the family’s gratitude for the great care his sister received.

And so he bought three tickets for the Campbell River Hospital Foundation’s lottery and gave two to family members.

“I literally felt that was a gift in itself – to support the hospital is so important,” says Nycky Vanjecek, Ostwald’s daughter.

Little did Vanjecek know that she was holding the lucky ticket that was recently drawn for the grand prize of a $20,000 travel voucher to go anywhere in the world.

“I was completely floored when I got the news,” she said last Thursday when she arrived at the foundation office to pick up the prize. “It feels like mom hand-picked it.

“I can picture the joy on her face!”

The money will be used for a family vacation for the young family. She’s 33, hubby Vince is 34, and they’ve been married six years.

Their only son Oliver will soon be five and next month Vanjecek expects to be back in Campbell River hospital for the birth of their second child.

“We’re expecting a boy,” she says, patting her round tummy. “We’ve always had dreams of travelling, but we’ve never been on a real vacation – we’ve never been on a honeymoon!”

With another little one on the way, the “family-oriented vacation” will have to wait until early 2015. It’s something to look forward to and this Saturday the family will gather again to celebrate the life of Sandra Ostwald.

“You know, my mom would always tried to surprise us and would fail miserably,” Vanjecek says with a laugh. “She finally got us.”


Fast facts:

  • Second place went to John Prachnau who gets a two-night, all-inclusive package at swanky Sonora Resort, a value of $3,600.

  • Third place went to Rina Berkshire who receives a $1,200 backyard barbecue package which includes a new BBQ, patio set and Quality Foods gift card.

  • Proceeds from the lottery will be used to purchase new, and much-needed equipment for the Campbell River Hospital; a video processor for Endoscopy and an ICU bed with rotation module.

  • This year’s lottery sponsors were The Travel Place, Quality Foods, Sonora Resort and the Campbell River Mirror.

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