Bill and Carrie Pendergast lost nearly everything in the Fort McMurray, Alta., wildfires. They managed to save their animals — a cat, dog and birds — some photos and a handful of clothing, but their home was flattened by the fires.
“The whole entire place looked like a war zone,” said Carrie. “It was very difficult until the flowers started to pop up through it, which was a sign of hope.”
Now the couple is cashing in on some of that hope in the form of a $1-million Atlantic Lottery cheque.
“It doesn’t seem real still. It’s very difficult to believe,” said Carrie in an interview with CTV News Channel Monday.
While visiting his ailing father in a Newfoundland hospital, Bill decided on a whim to buy a lottery ticket while picking up a soft drink for his dad.
“I’m sure glad I stopped and got him his 7 Up,” he said.
When he learned he’d purchased the winning ticket, he texted his wife Carrie a picture of the tickets, joking that he could buy mufflers for his car with the money. Since Bill has a reputation for being mischievous, Carrie didn’t even believe him at first.
“No, it wasn’t Photoshopped,” he joked.
“He’s quite a prankster, so I really thought it was a joke,” Carrie said. “Quite a shock.”
Though some of the money might go towards Bill’s car, most of the cash will probably be used to rebuild their Fort McMurray home. With just a few months left in the construction, the lottery winnings are a nice bonus, the couple said.
“This changes everything,” said Bill. “It’s a heavy weight gone off your shoulders for sure.”
Originally from Placentia, NL, Bill Pendergast has spent the past two years rebuilding his home from the 2016 Fort McMurray fire. Now, he’s $1,000,000 richer. His story: https://t.co/00Z4kP16Bf#AtlanticWin pic.twitter.com/DOJlpDEI1i— Atlantic Lottery 19+ (@AL_Lottery) February 9, 2018
Watch the couple’s interview with CTV News Channel’s Scott Laurie above.