Bloomfield Township mom wins $2M prize in MI vaccination lottery

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 8, 2021

 Christine Duval, of Bloomfield  Township, won the grand prize in the  Mi Shot to Win sweepstakes.

Christine Duval, of Bloomfield Township, won the grand prize in the Mi Shot to Win sweepstakes.

Image taken from the Mi Shot to Win virtual press conference

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BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — There were millions in cash and scholarships up for grabs in the MI Shot to Win sweepstakes, which aimed to get more Michigan residents vaccinated against COVID-19 by offering an entry into the lottery-style raffle with their second dose.

And the grand-prize winner is from right here in our neighborhood.

In a virtual press conference, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined the Protect Michigan Commission and the Michigan Education Trust to announce the winners of the sweepstakes, with prizes ranging $30,000 to $2 million in cash, and up to four years in college tuition and fees available for contestants 12-17 years old.

There were 30 winners from around the state of Michigan who scored $50,000 — that’s a drawing for each day of the monthlong raffle that began in July — and nine students won scholarships from MET.

LaTonda Anderson, of Grand Blanc, received the second largest prize with $1 million. Christine Duval, of Bloomfield Township, walked away with the big check for $2 million.

Duval is a wife and mom of three kids, originally from Montreal, Canada. She said she counted herself as “really lucky” even before her windfall.

Duval was working full time as a project manager for a company in Troy when the pandemic hit. She left her job to stay home and help her kids with their online schooling.

She already has plans for how she’ll spend the money, including college funds for her kids, a home remodel and a gift to charity.

“The pandemic was tough on everyone, and we believe the need for providing services to promote positive mental health care is more important now than ever,” she said during the press conference. “It’s why we’ll be donating some of our grand prize to improving mental health services in our community. It’s a cause very close to my heart.”

The Protect Michigan Commission, a group within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that was tasked by Whitmer with improving vaccination numbers and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state, reports that the sweepstakes was successful in providing an incentive for residents to go get their shot. First dose vaccinations went up 55% between mid-July through mid-August.

“The sweepstakes and news coverage helped spur conversations between families and friends about the sweepstakes,” Protect Michigan Commission Director Kerry Ebersole Singh said in a press release. “Several winners who were previously unvaccinated before the sweepstakes said they were inspired to get their vaccinations based on those discussions and the prizes they could win.”

There are currently no other plans for another sweepstakes, according to the commission, but its work isn’t done. The focus now will be on “grassroots activities” like mobile vaccine clinics.

Duval got her vaccine back in April from a CVS Pharmacy in Southfield. The rest of her family got their two doses too, with the exception of her youngest, who at 10 is still not eligible according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“For us, it’s really important,” she said. “It’s really important for our freedom and to live like we used to.”

As the press conference came to a close, Duval added one last thing before signing off.

“Merci, Michigan,” she said. “Thank you so much.”

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