EDMONTON -- One Red Deer resident is $456,315 richer after winning the 50/50 raffle at the Edmonton University Hospital Foundation’s virtual Festival of Trees.

“You buy a lottery ticket, you never expect to win, and then one day you’re sitting drinking coffee, reading the news and some gentleman phones you up, you think he’s kidding,” said winner Rod Smith.

“It’s a very happy day. 2020 was a horrible year but it ended with a bang.”

Smith said when the pandemic is over, he plans to travel somewhere with a bit more sun and palm trees.

The virtual event raised around $912,000 for Alzheimer’s research at the University of Alberta.

“Festival of Trees is beloved in our community and we didn’t want the community to miss out,” said Jodi Abbott, the President and CEO of University Hospital Foundation.

“It was absolutely a tough year but donors have really dug deep and they have been incredibly supportive of the University Hospital Foundation.”

The Festival of Trees has raised over $22 million over the last 35 years.