Million-dollar win for couple
FROM a government housing flat in West Rockhampton to a million-dollar beachside mansion in the Salt on the Tweed Coast.
That's the rags to riches story of Alan and Michelle Ebert.
The happy-go-lucky couple, who are used to living the simple life, won a $1 million Mater Prize Home Lottery in New South Wales and $50,000 in gold bullion.
Winning the house is a dream come true for the couple, especially after spending their five-year marriage caring full-time for Michelle's ill parents.
Alan and Michelle have always struggled for everything they own and have been living in government housing the size of the Mater Prize Home's lounge room.
“We will be going from three bedrooms and one bathroom to a fully furnished, three bedroom and office, three toilets, two bathrooms, cinema room and pool,” Michelle said.
The life-changing call came two days before Christmas.
“It was the ultimate Christmas present; we were shocked,” Michelle said.
Alan thought it was a hoax.
They became VIP Mater members in September, spending $100 a month for 100 chances to win.
Touched by illness, the pair signed up as VIP members to raise money for research and sick babies and children at the Mater hospitals.
“As a little girl I was friends with a girl who had leukaemia, and we've been touched by illnesses in the family. I had a blood disorder when I was younger,” she said.
The pair stayed in their new home while down for the presentation in December, but were unable to return due to the floods.
“Friends were looking after my parents. It was hard not being able to get back to mother, who doesn't have long to live,” she said.
Alan will move to a new job and live in their new home next month, but Michelle will stay in Rockhampton to look after her parents for the time being.
The lottery is an initiative of Mater Foundation, with proceeds supporting patients from Mater Health Services in Brisbane and vital research at Mater Medical Research Institute. Tickets ($2) for the next prize home lottery close on February 25, 2011.