Giving back is what matters
For Stefano Grasso, winner of the 2020 Heart & Stroke Lottery $1-million grand prize, seeking out every opportunity he can find to give back is just how he approaches life. “I’ve had a fulfilling life. I’ve enjoyed myself, I enjoy my family,” says the 56-year-old resident of Stouffville, Ont.
“I try to donate wherever I can, I try to help out as much as I can, to whatever cause I can,” Stefano says. After his mother-in-law suffered a stroke 15 years ago, leaving her left side paralyzed, cardiovascular disease became a cause that felt particularly personal. “It’s from the heart,” Stefano says. “I’ve been through it, so I want to help out as much as I can.”
While he supports numerous other causes too, Stefano says he’s been playing the Heart & Stroke Lottery for at least a decade. This year marks the first time he’s won anything substantial.
“My initial reaction was shock,” Stefano says, describing the phone call from Heart & Stroke to break the news. “I thought it was a joke, but then it kicked in. I can honestly say I started to break down in tears. It was so overwhelming, so unexpected.”
He has yet to decide how to spend his prize. Still, Stefano says, winning comes “at a most opportune time. It helps out immensely that I really don’t have to worry about everyday needs.”
But Stefano does have one last request for Heart & Stroke. “I know because of COVID-19 we can’t really get together. But when time permits, I’d still like to get (a photo with) that nice, big Heart & Stroke cheque,” he laughs. “If possible, please.”