STARS AMBULANCE - Jayden Sorsdahl spoke to one of the STARS operators who helped save his life in March 2015. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

WATCH: STARS lottery returns for 25th year

$500,000 grand prize up for grabs in support of air ambulance

Jayden Sorsdahl, 9, nearly died in March 2015 when a rare condition caused his sodium levels to drastically drop, causing multiple organ failures.

Luckily for Jayden and his family, STARS was able to airlift him from the Red Deer Regional Hospital to the Children’s Hospital in Calgary, where they were able to give him the treatment that saved his life.

“Time was of the essence and if STARS wasn’t here, I don’t think Jayden would be either,” Melanie Sorsdahl, Jayden’s mother, said.

The time from arriving at the Red Deer emergency room, to being airlifted all happened in under an hour and Jayden’s treatments in Calgary took four days — meaning that Jayden was back to being a regular kid right away.

Melanie said her son doesn’t remember being in the helicopter.

“He is incredible and doing awesome. It is like it never happened. It is just ingrained in the memory of everyone else who was looking upon him. He is loving school and doing sports,” she said.

The Sorsdahls were speaking about their experience with STARS at the public launch of the STARS lottery, which fundraisers to help keep the air ambulances flying.

“It is our 25th edition of the lottery and we are pretty excited about it because it is one of our largest fundraising initiatives,” Mike Lamacchia, vice president operations for B.C. and Alberta said. It raises significant dollars to keep our operations running here in Alberta.”

The lottery offers 3,034 prizes, with a total value of $4.7 million.

This is the first year that there will be no STARS dream home in Red Deer, something Lamacchia sais was due to public consultation.

“People love the house, but then they win the house and it is in a location they don’t want and then they have to sell. People said to us, ‘Why don’t you just make it a dream prize?’”

That dream prize is $500,000 in cash, and there is also an early-bird draw for $350,000 in cash. This year also features the return of the Lucky STARS 50/50 draw which has possible payout of $1,750,000.

“We are really excited. We are over 50 per cent on our main lottery, which is phenomenal. We are also 66 per cent sold on our 50/50, so we are pretty excited. There has been great support from Albertans,” he said.

Grand prize tickets can be purchased online at starslotteryalberta.ca for $25, three for $60, six for $100 or 18 for $250. Fifty/fifty tickets can be purchased for $10 each, five for $25 or 15 for $50.

Tickets can be purchased by dialing 1-888-880-0992 or by mail.

“I would hope we can all open our hearts and buy tickets for $25 a piece,” Melanie said. “I know times are tight. We can relate on that same level but we all have a few dollars to spare.

“Even if you buy a calendar once per year. There are so many ways to support them and this lottery is really not that expensive.”

Jayden added, “I want to work for STARS. They really care for people who are hurt and sick.”

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