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'This time, the dream came true,' Hospice Dream Home winners celebrate

Longtime co-workers for city utility services share $850,000 grand prize in Prince George Hospice Dream Home lottery
Hospice Home winners 2021
Hospice Dream Home grand prize winners, Diana Forfar, left, and Brenda Ferch got to tour their new $850,000 home at 4047 Brink Rd., after their winning ticket was drawn Friday night.

Diana Forfar and Brenda Ferch, her co-worker in the utilities services department at city hall, have been going halfers on tickets for the Prince George Hospice Dream Home lottery for the about 10 years.

The way they looked at it, somebody has it win it, and if it’s not them, the money goes to a good cause.

The odds were one in 11,999 of winning that $850,000 home and all its furnishings and at 6 p.m. Friday their $100 ticket was drawn out of the barrel.

Mayor Lyn Hall called Ferch right after the draw was made and at first she wasn’t sure which of the two tickets she bought for the draw was the winning one. She and Forfar each buy one ticket for themselves and one with both names on it and Hall confirmed they were joint winners.

“It was quite a shock, all I remember is yelling profanities and telling (Forfar) to get her butt down to my place so we could go up and see our new house,” said Ferch.

A co-worker whose mom had been watching the live webcast of the draw on the hospice Facebook site broke the news to Forfar, who got the call from Ferch a couple minutes later.

Their co-worker met them at the house with a bottle of Champagne and three glasses and they toasted their good fortune and celebration went on until midnight.

“For at least the past 10 years we buy a ticket together on the Hospice Dream Home and the Spruce Kings Dream Home and every year we buy tickets on both,” said Forfar. “Then we spend six months dreaming about what we’d do if we won the house, and that dream would be killed and we ‘d go on the next one.

“This time, the dream came true.”

They've worked together since 2005 and plan to list the house with a real estate agent as soon as possible to split up their winnings.

Ferch is 61 and she said this might speed up her retirement plans but she’s not quite ready for that yet. She said she will buy a new vehicle to replace her aging Hyundai but beyond that, she’s not sure what she’ll do with the money. The thought of winning such a big prize will make Christmas that much merrier for Ferch, who is waiting for her sons, 26 and 28, to come in from Dawson Creek and Vancouver to spend time together over the holidays.

“I can decide what I want to do, I’m still too young and full of energy to give up my job,” said Ferch. “I work for the city, as Diana does, and I’m going to keep giving these kids a run for their money. I can see some (out-of-town vacation) happening once things settle down. It’s going to take time to sell the house so we can’t get stupid. By then, hopefully the (pandemic) travel bans are lifted.

“It’s a new chapter in our lives and we’re looking forward to it.”

Forfar says she and Ferch try to buy their tickets right after they first go on sale to take advantage of the early-bird draws. They ‘ve made it a tradition to tour the house together and did that a few months ago. Forfar’s husband Jason Schumann hadn’t seen the house until they dropped by Saturday afternoon.

“We always had that agreement that we would sell it, the house doesn’t make sense for either one of us at our life stages, and our plan is to put it on the market,” said the 42-year-old Forfar. “It’s definitely life-altering for myself and my family. That money can go really quick, but you have to enjoy it a little bit too.”

 Forfar and her husband have a 14-year-old daughter and she’s already laid claim to one of the couches on display in the basement. The 3,470 square-foot house was built in the Nechako View subdivision at 4047 Brink Dr.

The Dream Home lottery is the biggest annual fundraiser for the Prince George Palliative Care Hospice Society. It and the 50-50 draw were completely sold out. Elton Rallison won the $150,000 50-50 draw on Friday.

Winning the grand prize won’t diminish their support for future draws.

“Brenda said, we’re not going to stop our tradition, we’re going to keep buying tickets every year for each house,” said Forfar. “It’s nice to dream but you’re more about supporting the cause, but it just paid off for us.”