Edmonton

Fort McMurray evacuee wins lotto, will help charities that helped family

A Fort McMurray resident who won $1 million says he will donate some of his winnings to the charities that helped his family in May, when the entire city was evacuated in the face of a huge wildfire.

'We got a lot of help from the Canadian Red Cross, food banks and the SPCA, I want to return the favour'

Lottery winner Jason Wheeler says he wants to use some of his $1 million winnings help out the charities that helped his family during the Fort McMurray wildfire in May. (Western Canada Lottery Corp.)

A Fort McMurray resident who won $1 million says he will donate some of his winnings to the charities that helped his family in May, when the entire city was evacuated in the face of a huge wildfire.

"We were evacuated from our house during the Fort McMurray forest fires," Jason Wheeler said in a news release.

"We got a lot of help from the Canadian Red Cross, food banks and the SPCA. I want to return the favour."

Wheeler said he won Lotto 649 on July 6 while he was camping.

"I checked the lottery website when I was sitting around the fire and saw there was a million dollar winner in Alberta," he said. "I thought, 'How nice would that be?' "

The following day Wheeler took his ticket to a store and scanned it.

"I had a few tickets to scan," he said. "When I got to the big winner, I had to put it through the scanner a couple times."

On top of the donations, he will pay off his home and other debts, he said. 

"This really gives me some peace of mind," he said. "I won't have a mortgage, so we have money to fall back on."