James Goreski. Photo taken by Louise Goreski

Lottery winner sets up charitable foundation

A Midwestern Ontario man who won a multi-million dollar lotto jackpot will help others with his winnings in honour of his late father.

The James Goreski Private Foundation was created in memory of James Goreski, who passed away after a long battle with cancer. James always told his kids he thought lottery winners should support healthcare in the local community.

So that's just what his son Jason Goreski did after winning a $33 million Lotto 649 jackpot in 2019.

"I was lucky enough to win the lottery in 2019, and my father had always said that he thought if he ever won the lottery, he would set something up to help local residents in Grey and Bruce with health related issues," explained Goreski. "So that's basically why I decided to start it up."

He added that he and his family experienced the emotional and physical challenges of caring for a loved one going through a long-term medical issue, so they wanted to provide assistance and support to others dealing with health-related matters.

Goreski pointed out that local organizations are struggling to find funding.

"For the most part, we see a lot of organizations that that are having funding shortfalls," he said. "I mean COVID affected everybody right across the board, but most organizations are having funding gaps where the local governments or municipal governments federal governments have either pulled back funding or funding is isn't available to these organizations."

Goreski said their goal is clear.

"Our mission statement actually reads to improve the lives of Grey and Bruce County residents by providing resources to groups and organizations that are committed to promoting health and to assisting those who suffer from health related issues," he stated.

Since it's inception, the foundation has donated a total of $1,288,000 toward health and wellness initiatives in the Grey Bruce area.

"This year we were lucky enough to hand out approximately $426,000 to a variety of organizations," Goreski continued. "Reach, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hope Haven Therapeutic Riding Center and Home and Community Support Services was another one."

Home and Community Support Services Grey Bruce (HCSS) received a grant $152,000 to help create four safe and comfortable overnight respite spaces. Canadian Mental Health Association of Grey Bruce received $50,000 to continue the “Talk Today Program” bringing OHL team players and high school youth together to discuss mental health issues. PUCK PIGS sponsored by Grey Bruce United Way was granted $5,000 to provide ice rentals for a hockey program that brings together newly placed CMHA recipients.

This year also marks the Foundation’s first sponsored Med Ahead Workshop. Goreski pointed out that enrollment in the workshop is limited.

"It's a weekend experience for high school students in Grey and Bruce, April 13 and 14 from 8:30 till 4:00 at the St. Mary's High School in Owen Sound," said Goreski. "The cost is $50. Lunch is provided. Registration forms will be available at jamesgoreskifoundation.ca. The enrollment is limited to 30 students, so we ask everybody to operate as a first come first serve basis."

"They can learn about the different careers in health care, whether it be being a physician, nursing. paramedicine. As well, they're going to get a chance to try some hands on skills like casting, suturing, and injections," Goreski continued. "And the goal with that is to provide the youth an opportunity to explore healthcare, in the hopes that we can inspire a few of them to pursue a career in medicine, and with any luck they'll choose to practice back in Grey Bruce."

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