UTICA — Mary Whittaker, of Ilion, found out she has 100,000 more reasons to celebrate this holiday season on Oct. 23.
She became the 17th winner of the Children’s Miracle Network $100,000 Miracle Home Makeover with ticket No. 2373.
Whittaker had been purchasing Miracle Home tickets for the past seven years with more of an intent to donate to a worthy cause than believing she would win the $100,000.
“I strongly believe in the mission of the Children’s Miracle Network and appreciate that all of the money raised stays in our area,” Whittaker said in a news release. “I am fortunate that my children have been healthy and I am happy to contribute to CMN each year to make sure that the services they provide are available to those in our community who need them.”
Whittaker was caught off guard when her name was read as the winner.
“You never think it’s going to be your name that is called,” said Whittaker in the release. “My husband was working at the time of the drawing and didn’t believe me when I called to tell him the great news.”
When Whittaker purchased the ticket she told her daughter that if she were to win, her daughter could have her room remodeled.
“As soon as I won, my daughter reminded me of my promise,” Whittaker said in the release. “It looks like my daughter will be getting the new room she wanted after all!”
The project, which benefits Women’s and Children’s Services at Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare, has raised more than $3.4 million over the past 17 years. All 4,150 tickets were sold.
“We are so thankful to these businesses for their amazing generosity,” said Eileen Pronobis, CFRE, executive director of the FSLH Foundation, in the release. “They are all very important to the project’s success. Each year more than 85 local businesses donate their time, products and services to make miracles happen for the children in our community and for one lucky winner. Their support makes a difference in the lives of so many of the families we care for at Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare.”