British Columbia Lottery Corporation

British Columbia Lottery Corporation

February 23, 2009 13:53 ET

British Columbia Lottery Corporation/Media Release: Win 'Extra Special' for Woman Poker Player Battling Cancer

RICHMOND, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2009) - It was an emotional scene early this morning at Cascades Casino in Langley, as a 55-year-old woman suffering from cancer battled both her illness and her fellow female poker players to emerge victorious at BCLC's 4th Annual Women's Poker Classic.

"It's truly a miracle," said a teary-eyed and exhausted Donna van Aert of Kamloops, who won the WPC's Texas Hold'Em Main Event after 15 straight hours of poker. "I just had chemotherapy and felt so sick that I didn't even think I'd be able to play today, so to win is absolutely incredible."

The retired administrative clerk received a winner's cheque for $30,000, plus entry into the World Series of Poker 2009 Ladies Championship Event June 7 in Las Vegas.

"To get to play in the WSOP is a dream come true," said van Aert, one of over 750 women to compete in the WPC, some coming from as far away as Whitehorse and Mississauga.

With The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation receiving a donation of $50 per entry, this year's tournament raised more than $40,000 for the CBCF BC/Yukon Region.

Battling cancer for the past four years, the experience was extra special for van Aert.

"As someone suffering from cancer, it's nice to be able to help raise money to fund the research needed to find a cure."

"I want to thank everyone who helped make this year's WPC such a success," said Darryl Schiewe, BCLC's Vice President of Casino Gaming. "A special thank-you to the many women who registered this year, with each helping to support this worthy cause."

Full tournament results are available at

BCLC is a provincial Crown Corporation that offers socially responsible gaming entertainment while generating income that benefits all British Columbians. Last year more than 6,850 community and charitable organizations received community gaming grants. BCLC is an Official Supporter of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

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