He could be the luckiest guy in Tucson…Here’s TMC Mega Raffle Grand Prize winner #1!

TMC Mega Raffle Grand Prize Winner #1 Michael Martin

TMC Mega Raffle Grand Prize Winner #1
Michael Martin

Michael Martin has a big decision to make.

Move into a brand new home in northwest Tucson that includes $30,000 in upgrades, plus receive $100,000 cash.

Or, forget the house and opt for $576,000.

He’s already walking away with a brand new Mercedes.  The fact that he’s even pondering a dilemma like this still feels very surreal, he said.  Martin is the first-ever grand prize winner #1 of the TMC Mega Raffle!

He bought three tickets for $250, and admits he was disappointed when he didn’t win anything in the Early Bird drawing a few weeks ago.  “I figured I just made a nice donation to a good cause at a great hospital,” he said.

“I have a four-bedroom house already.  I actually had an appointment with a realtor for 3 p.m. one day to look at other houses so I could downsize.  At 1 o’clock that day, I got a call from Kathy Rice.  She left me a voicemail telling me I’d won the TMC Mega Raffle.  I didn’t believe it!”

He really didn’t believe it.

“My buddies play some pretty elaborate jokes on me.  I thought they were messing with me,” he said.  “I called Kathy back, and I still didn’t believe it.”  So, he called his parents.  “My mom said, ‘Mike – someone has got to be pulling your leg.’  I wanted to believe it, but there was always that thought in the back of my mind that people don’t really win prizes like this.  I hopped on the internet and started checking things out, and all of the pieces started falling into place.”  That’s when he started to think maybe the Mega Raffle was legitimate.  “I thought to myself, either this is the worst joke that’s ever been played by anybody, or this is definitely the real deal.”  Now that it’s starting to sink in, Martin says he’s on cloud 9.

TMC Mega Raffle Grand Prize Winner #1 Michael Martin

TMC Mega Raffle Grand Prize Winner #1 Michael Martin

Reality started to hit at the Mercedes dealership when he was looking at a shiny new roadster with his name on it.  “It was gorgeous – but I’m really not a roadster guy, so they’ve ordered me an SUV, no problem.  It was just a matter of filling out some more paperwork.”

The 38-year-old has bounced from his hometown in Arkansas to Tucson a few times since 2007 as part of his work for the Air National Guard.  He’s now here for good – and is trying his hardest to get his family to come join him.  “I called my parents and said, ‘I’ll take the house if you guys come live out here.  All you have to do is pay the utility bills.’  I did the same with my brother and his family.  I’d do anything to get my family out here.  Unfortunately, there’s just too much keeping them in Arkansas.” 

TMC Mega Raffle Grand Prize Winner #1 Michael Martin

TMC Mega Raffle Grand Prize Winner #1
Michael Martin

Martin visited the A.F. Sterling home and admits he’s tempted to keep it.  “It’s a mansion compared to what I have now.  It’s incredible.  The backyard would be perfect to have people come over and cook out.  The kitchen was amazing.  It would be a great bachelor pad!”

But with his family rooted in Arkansas, Martin says he’s about 90 percent certain he’s just going to take the cash option.  What’s he going to do with all that money?  At this point, he’s not sure.  Even after taxes, he’ll walk away with a pretty penny.  “I’m going to let myself use about 10-15 percent of what I end up with just to have fun.  I’m going to put the rest of it where I can’t get to it for about 3-6 months and just let the dust settle.

“I’m a big believer that if you surround yourself with good people, good things will happen to you.  I felt extremely fortunate before I won the Mega Raffle.  I’ve got a great job, and I love what I do.  This is a blessing.”

Congratulations, Michael, and thank you to everyone who supported patient care at TMC by purchasing tickets.  The TMC Mega Raffle will be back next year!

Timing is perfect for TMC Mega Raffle Grand Prize winner #2

Imagine having one phone call completely change your life. 

TMC Mega Raffle Grand Prize winner #2 Janet McGee

TMC Mega Raffle
Grand Prize winner #2
Janet McGee

That’s what happened to Tucson resident Janet McGee on a Wednesday afternoon.  She was sitting at her computer printing out postage for a bill that was past due.  As she was frantically trying to race to the post office, the phone rang.  She almost didn’t answer it. 

“I picked it up.  Kathy Rice identified herself and told me I was Grand Prize winner #2 of TMC’s Mega Raffle.  I thought maybe someone was playing a trick on me, but I recognized her voice from the commercials.”  Stunned, amazed, and in tears, Janet set the phone down and ran to tell her husband Gary.  “He couldn’t believe it either,” she said.

Not bad, considering Janet didn’t purchase her tickets until after the Early Bird drawing.  “I decided to actually buy tickets because it was a great cause, with great odds.  I bought three tickets for $250, and then I put it out of my mind.  There were so many prizes, I just wanted to win something.  I had a feeling I may win, but I thought it would be a weekend getaway.  I never imagined it would be the 2nd grand prize!”  It’s pretty impressive for a woman who’s never won more than $2 while playing the lottery!

The task now:  Decide if they’re going to accept the keys to an A.F. Sterling home in southwest Tucson, and $50,000 cash, or just walk away with $336,000 cash.

It was a dream come true for the newlyweds, and the timing could not have been more perfect.

Janet has been unemployed for more than a year after spending 19 years working in Human Resources for a children’s behavioral health company.  Gary, a retired corrections officer, has been on disability.  Financially, Janet says, things have been extremely tough.

The pair met on match.com five years ago.  In August of last year, Gary was diagnosed with three terminal brain tumors.  Three months later, the couple decided to tie the knot.  “We ran off to Las Vegas and had a very fun Elvis wedding.  I wanted to marry him so that I could help take care of him and give him everything he needs,” said Janet.  Gary, who was born at TMC, is now bed-bound.

Will they choose the house, or cash?  At this point she’s unsure.  The first order of business:  talk to an accountant.  “There’s a lot to figure out in regards to what is the best decision for us to make, but believe me – it’s not a bad problem to have,” Janet laughed.

Congratulations, Janet and Gary!

Thank you to everyone who helped support patient care at TMC by purchasing Mega Raffle tickets.  The TMC Mega Raffle will be back next year!

“A real raffle for real people!” Former TMC patient wins big after devastating diagnosis

For Tucson resident Renee Sowards, life took a 180-degree turn in three short months.  In January, she was diagnosed with a tumor in her spine that required surgery. Since then, she has recovered and is healthy. She’s also driving a brand new Audi coupe, with an extra $14,000 in her bank account – all because of the care she received at TMC and a decision to buy tickets for TMC’s Mega Raffle.

Dr. Abhay Sanan & Renee Sowards

Dr. Abhay Sanan
& Renee Sowards

Shortly after her diagnosis, Sowards researched which neurosurgeon she would literally trust her life with.  She decided to go with TMC’s Dr. Abhay Sanan from the Center for Neurosciences.  She called his office to get the new patient process started and hadn’t even made an appointment yet when she received a phone call that confirmed she had made the right choice.

“My phone rang at eight o’clock on a Sunday night.  It was Dr. Sanan.  He said he needed to see me right away, and I told him I had jury duty the next day.  He paused and asked, ‘So I take it you’re still ambulatory?’  I knew right then that my situation was very serious,” she said.  “Because of where the tumor was located, I stood a great chance of losing my legs.”

Keigo & Mom

Sowards with Keigo

Two weeks later, Sowards was in the operating room.  Her surgery was a success.  When she learned she would spend the next five days at TMC recovering, Sowards had a unique request for hospital staff.  “I asked if Keigo, our 140-pound well-behaved Akita could stay with me in my room.”  To her surprise, the answer was yes.  “It was so comfortable to be able to sit in my chair and just rub my toes on him as he lay at my feet.  Having him there really helped me heal,” she said.  “My husband had a hard time leaving my side when I was going through this.  Knowing that I was receiving the best care and had Keigo with me gave him the peace of mind he needed to go home at night.”

Sowards recovered, and eventually headed back to work where a TMC Mega Raffle brochure arrived in the mail.  “I flipped through the pages and thought, ‘what a great way for TMC to raise money.’”  And then she saw a testimonial from one of Dr. Sanan’s other patients.  “When I saw that, I thought to myself – I had such excellent care at TMC, and Dr. Sanan was so wonderful, I’m going to buy three tickets as a way to pay it forward.”  Sowards was 12 years old the last time she won anything – four tickets to the Beatles’ first U.S. tour.  Needless to say, she never thought she’d actually win.  “I really just thought I was making a contribution to the hospital that gave me such great care.”

And then… she got the call.

Kathy Rice from the Mega Raffle told Sowards she was an Early Bird winner, and won one of three great prizes… but that she’d have to come down to the car dealership the next day to learn which fabulous prize it was.  “I pulled out my brochure and looked at the Early Bird prizes and was so excited!  I didn’t sleep at all that night.  I just kept thinking, ‘either I’m going to travel somewhere or I’m going to get a brand new car.’  Truthfully, I didn’t care which prize I won.  I was just delighted to be a winner!”


Sowards with her
2013 Audi A5

When she arrived at the dealership, Sowards learned $14,000 cash plus the 2013 Audi A5 Premium Plus Coupe Quattro Tiptronic was hers!  It was quite the change for the self-described “soccer mom” who has driven a minivan for the past 25 years to haul kids around town, or a pick-up truck to take the dog places.  “I still can’t believe it.  I keep getting up just to look at it in my driveway.  The TMC Mega Raffle is a real raffle for real people.  The hardest part about winning?  I had to break it to Keigo that no dogs are allowed in the new car!”

Sowards’ tickets get rolled over to the final Mega Raffle drawing on May 29.  To be entered into this drawing, you need to purchase your tickets by midnight, May 22.  Tickets are $100 each, or there are a limited number of 3-packs for $250.  Please click here for more information, and good luck!

Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461