It’s been a rough year for Noelani Dreger. But she’s just had one stroke of luck this season — she won this year’s Christmas Car at Abbotsford Nissan, a 2005 Nissan Altima.
Dreger is a single mom to two sons, nine-year-old Gaberial and 12-year-old William. Gaberial has been battling heart problems, and Dreger has to make frequent trips with him back and forth to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. Without a vehicle, she’s been relying on a time-consuming patchwork of buses, taxis and the occasional ride from her dad. But when her mother had a heart attack this spring, caring for her meant Dreger’s father was rarely available to drive her and Gaberial.
“I didn’t want to put the burden on my dad. It’s been a stressful year, but we’ve always made do,” she said.
Dreger’s friend Krista nominated her for the Christmas Car giveaway – a program that’s given a free car to a deserving Abbotsfordian for nine years running.
Krista called her to tell her she’d won, and Dreger was ecstatic.
“I felt shocked, amazed. I felt like I was in a dream” she said.
“We really feel like this is going to impact her life in a positive way,” he said.
The giveaway is sponsored by Abbotsford Nissan, Fix Auto, Aldergrove Auto Wrecking, 20/20 Auto Glass, Hub Insurance, BCAA, Sherwin Williams Paint and AbbyNews. The automotive sponsors work together to ensure the refurbished car is in tip-top shape, with new paint, shocks, brakes, tires, glass and more. It comes with a $1,000 credit toward insurance and a year-long BCAA membership, and altogether Jung hopes it’ll give Dreger a year of completely hassle-free driving.
Dreger picked up the silver sedan at the dealership in the Fraser Valley Auto Mall on the morning of Dec. 23, posed for a quick photo with her sons, and immediately got started on errands. The crew visited Wal-Mart and went grocery shopping, all without having to wait in the rain for a bus.
The family has plans for a quiet Christmas this year, and will visit family in town on Boxing Day.
“I’m the type of person who doesn’t go out and ask for anything,” said Dreger. “We’re just thankful for what we do have, and who we have around us.”