Congratulations to Geri, our 50/50 Lottery Winner!

“I’m still in shock! I can’t believe it happened!” As an Operating Room (OR) nurse, Geri, RN, CPN(C)®, is known for her passion, energy and her commitment to nursing.  But since winning the 50/50 Lottery Hospital in support of Guelph General Hospital (GGH) on January 31, 2024 – which was also her father’s 75th birthday – she has been over the moon.

The pandemic was hard for GGH staff and the post-COVID workload remains heavy. Geri explained that they are working hard to catch up, and alleviate the backlog of surgeries.

“We all love it when someone in the community wins the GGH lottery. This time everyone’s celebrating the fact that ‘one of us’ has won – everyone in my department is excited for me!”

She has played the 50/50 Hospital Lottery four times. Winning was a pleasant dream but not an expected reality when she bought $75 worth of tickets this past Christmas.

“The week of the Holiday draw, I was working evening shift and on-call. So, I was asleep when Sarah from The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital called me. When the phone rang, I thought it was the Charge Nurse wanting me to come in and cover for someone. Then Sarah said I’d won $24,238 in the lottery! All I could say was, ‘Are you sure?’”

The month of December is an extremely emotional time for me and my family. “My ten-year-old daughter, Kayla, passed away on December 12, 2019, after suffering a seizure during the night, SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy).  I bought the tickets while thinking of Kayla, and knowing it would help the hospital.”

She relishes working in the OR and her additional role as Team Lead for Gynecology. “I would be thrilled if some of the hospital’s winnings were spent on equipment for women’s surgery, such as a Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy.  I aspire to assist the sick and injured, making a positive impact on patients through compassionate care, support, and empathy for their health challenges.

Geri’s mother is also a Registered Nurse at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. “She has worked in all nursing departments except OR – which is where I was drawn,” says Geri.

Why the operating room? “Because it is so dynamic and the scope of surgeries I’m involved in is so diverse: Gynaecology, Orthopaedics, Vascular, General Surgery… you name it! Every day I need to apply different skill sets for surgery, patient care, and helping alleviate fears about surgery.  That’s what I love about working in the operating room, working together as a team to provide the best health care possible!

As to where the lottery money will be spent, Geri says, “I’ll contribute to my daughter’s charitable foundation [Make Your Mark Foundation in Memory of Kayla Chadwick]. Kayla’s last school project was about PEI, so my husband, Scott, and I are taking our teenage son, Tyler, to the Island in July for a hockey camp and vacation”

“Health is wealth,” Geri says firmly. “All medical facilities are still dealing with backlogs. It’s hard for many people to get a family doctor.  Pay attention to your health and take care of yourself as much as you can!”