A sophomore nursing student at D'Youville College won a trip to Ireland for her and her mom on the Ellen DeGeneres Show aired on Friday, March 16, just in time for St. Patrick's Day.
Joelle Gage, 19, had written a letter to DeGeneres after hearing her request for listeners to send in reasons why they should compete for a trip to Ireland. Joelle explained in her letter that her parents, Mary and Andrew Gage, never had a honeymoon when they married and her dad had planned a delayed honeymoon to Ireland.
Unfortunately, he died in 2005 before they could go and Joelle's goal was to send just her mom on the special trip to the Emerald Isle. "She really deserved to go," Joelle said.
Her dad, a medical doctor, before he died had requested his ashes be spread in Ireland.
DeGeneres selected her letter a very short time after receiving it and Joelle appeared on the show to "compete" for the trip. "I was really surprised and it was totally unexpected," Joelle said.
In actuality, the competition skit was a setup where a TV crew member pretended to be a competitor for the trip.
After Joelle went through a fake game that consisted of bobbing for apples, finding a four-leaf clover in the sand, drinking a green drink and jumping onto a Velcro wall, Ellen announced it was not a real game and Joelle was the "winner."
The prize was an all expense one-week trip to Ireland courtesy of the Ellen Show, Aer Lingus Airline and the Irish Tourism Board for both Joelle and her mom, a teacher at Williamsville East. "It's a dream come true," Joelle said through her tears while on camera.
"Ellen was really nice; her personality is just what you see on television. I was nervous but she was helpful and made me feel at ease," Joelle said.
They tentatively plan to make the trip this summer when they will make Dr. Andrew Gage's request come true.
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