March 14, 2023

Former STARS LOTTERY grand prize winner cared for and airlifted to hospital

Didsbury man defies odds, wins lottery, then a second chance at life

ALBERTA, Mar. 14, 2023 – Neil Lunn thought he was lucky when, in 2014, he won the grand prize in STARS LOTTERY – a $1.3 million home in Calgary. Nearly a decade later the same organization has saved his life.

When Neil Lunn and his wife Mona Cardinal learned they had won the 2014 STARS LOTTERY dream home they could hardly believe it.

“When they phoned to tell me we had won, they asked if I was going to keep buying tickets, and I said ‘Yes, because someday I might need you,’” said Lunn.

And he did.

Just weeks ago, on Jan. 26, 2023, Neil suffered a cardiac issue at his home in a rural Alberta community. He was transported from the hospital in Didsbury to a Calgary hospital by STARS. It’s because of the care he received from his paramedic, nurse and physician that he’s still here today.

The STARS team was able to place an external pacemaker that would keep Lunn alive if he became unstable during the flight. That temporary procedure, coupled with the support of a physician on board, made them confident he could withstand the transport to Calgary.

Midflight, paramedic Greg Barton noticed Lunn sitting up and chuckling to himself, seemingly taking in the experience. It was at that point Lunn informed the crew that he had won the dream home nine years earlier and now was in awe of how things had come full circle.

“He took an interest in supporting our organization years ago and had the good fortune of winning the dream home, and now he’s laying on our stretcher with a critical issue … it was a surreal moment; I was happy to be able to help him,” said Barton.

Barton added that this kind of encounter was a first for him in his more than 20 years as a flight paramedic.

Upon arriving at hospital, Neil’s condition suddenly worsened. “As we were transferring him to the hospital bed his heart stopped … and we were able to electrically pace him,” said Barton.

The STARS team kept him alive with medical equipment, while the team at the receiving hospital inserted a central line and pacemaker directly into his heart.

The external pacemaker that STARS had placed prior to departure turned out to be integral to Lunn’s survival that day.

Now back at his home in Didsbury, Neil is recovering and returning to his normal activity. When asked if the couple would continue supporting STARS LOTTERY, Mona responded, “We get our tickets as soon as we can; that’s one thing we’ll always do.”

Tickets for STARS LOTTERY can be purchased until March 22, 2023, and the draws will take place on April 5, 2023. To get yours, visit

Get your tickets for STARS LOTTERY before March 22

2023 marks the 30th edition of the annual STARS LOTTERY, the non-profit’s largest fundraiser. Each year proceeds from the lottery provide STARS with enough vital funding to operate one base 24/7 for a year, delivering critical care to patients in need. STARS flew more than 1,600 missions in its last fiscal year from its three bases in Alberta: Calgary, Edmonton and Grande Prairie.

This year there are more than 2,100 total prizes to be won that are collectively worth more than $4.8 million, including three grand prize dream homes in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge.

Tickets are 1 for $30, 4 for $75, 8 for $125, 20 for $275 or 35 for $400. Tickets for the LUCKY STARS 50/50 are sold separately. Those start at $10, and the winner will take home up to $4.5 million. To purchase tickets, visit or call 1-855-782-7768.

The final day to buy tickets for the main lottery and the 50/50 is March 22, 2023. Both draws will take place on April 5, 2023.

For more information visit

For more information contact:

Mark Oddan, STARS | | 306-291-0110


STARS was born from the conviction that no one should go without the care that could save their life. Operating 24/7 from bases in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg, STARS is your best hope in a worst-case scenario. If you need critical care, our mission is to be there for you — physically or virtually — in whatever capacity we can help. Because when it comes to the next patient who needs us, it’s never too far. Learn more at STARS.CA