Tom Crist said Monday he was planning to donate his winnings in honour of his wife Jan, who died of cancer. The couple were married for 33 years when Jan passed away in February 2012.On Tuesday, Crist gave $1.2 million to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, which collects donations for Calgary's Tom Baker Cancer Centre, where Jan was treated before her death.
Alberta Cancer Foundation CEO Myka Osinchuk first found out about Crist's intentions through media reports.
"My first thought this morning was ‘that’s amazing,’ my second was: ‘I wonder if he knows what he’s done.'"
Osinchuk says they were all a bit stunned and very grateful.
"Whether the money goes to the Tom Baker or the cancer centre or any other worthy cause, I mean, this is just a man who should be congratulated," she said.
"You get a good feeling from it."
The shy winner
Crist says he doesn't want any attention. He found out in May that he won and, until now, had kept it a secret from even friends and family.
The former CEO of EECOL Electric, an electrical wholesale company with its head office in Calgary, retired this September.
On Monday, Crist said he was hoping he could just quietly transfer the funds to a family trust account that would be used for charity. But, as a condition of a big win, the Western Canada Lottery Corporation requires that an announcement be made.
Despite his best efforts, they even took a picture of Crist — he wore a ball cap and sungalsses.
On Tuesday, his son Dallas Crist said his dad was a humble man.Story continues below video
"He’ll go out of his way to do anything for his friends, family, all his coworkers at EECOL would say the same things," he said.
"He’s our role model. It’s cheesy and cliché, but it’s true."
The $40 million prize is the largest ever for a Calgary winner.
Also on HuffPost