BURBANK — Getting the phone call that she had won a trip for two to New York City was exciting for Diane Eckstine. But not as exciting as what the 79-year-old Burbank resident read on her box of Cheerios a few days later.
"What I didn't realize when I entered the sweepstakes was that the sponsors, General Mills and Walgreens, besides what they were giving me, would also be donating $50,000 to the Susan B. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation," she said. "That was really good news."
"I'm a breast cancer survivor; 10 years now," Eckstine said.
The name of the contest was "Win What You Love," and contestants were given several choices such as travel, adventure and music. Eckstine chose cooking, even though she seldom does much of it these days.
"Though I do collect cookbooks," she said. "But what I'm passionate about is finding a cure for cancer."
When she first got the call about winning, she thought it was a scam. Reality set in a few days later when a packet of information about her prize arrived in the mail.
Immediately she called one of her daughters, Pammella Heisler, a teacher in Boise, and asked her to go along.
Included in the prize -- a two-day, all expense paid trip for two -- is a class at a culinary school in New York City.
"My cooking days are pretty much past. I do better at observing. But Pam could use the cooking class; she's no Betty Crocker," Eckstine joked.
The two leave Pasco on April 18. While in New York City, they will enjoy dinner at a prestigious Manhattan restaurant, B. Smith's Restaurant Row, max out a $500 gift card to a kitchen store and go shopping with the $300 spending money.
Eckstine's husband, Orv, also is receiving a gift.
"My trip's valued at $8,000, and they're paying the taxes on it. He's tickled about that," she said.
This isn't the first contest she has won. Since she began entering them in 1985, Eckstine's won trips to San Francisco, Disney World and Lake Tahoe, plus a refrigerator.
"I don't do windows, I don't do housework and I barely cook. What I do is enter sweepstakes," she said. "All it takes is time and patience. If I do it online, it doesn't even cost me postage."
* Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org