KC Tremblay used to take her five-year-old son Tucker from Abbotsford to Vancouver on public transit for his medical appointments at BC Children’s Hospital.
It was an all-day affair, starting early in the morning, with Tremblay and Tucker taking a bus to Mission, where they would catch a West Coast Express train.
At the end of the line, they would use a combination of SkyTrain and buses to get to the hospital.
They even recently had to use this process to get to and from the hospital when Tucker had surgery to remove his tonsils.
Despite the inconveniences, Tremblay was thankful to be closer to good medical care for her son, who has Down syndrome.
The single mom and her two kids – including daughter Airah, 4 – moved from the Okanagan to Abbotsford in April.
Tremblay works at a retail job at Sevenoaks Shopping Centre, and a car purchase was not within her means.
But thanks to the generous support of some local merchants, Tremblay no longer has to worry about the hassles of not having a vehicle.
Abbotsford Nissan and Fix Auto chose Tremblay as the recipient this year of their ninth Christmas car giveaway.
She received a like-new 2004 white Nissan Altima, vehicle insurance from Hub International, a one-year membership from BCAA and two brand-new car seats.
The vehicle was given a full mechanical check and detailing before being presented to Tremblay on Monday.
Later that day, she was still flabbergasted at the gesture.
“It’s breathtaking and overwhelming. It hasn’t just made my year; it’s made my life,” she said.
Tremblay said having a vehicle will not only make it more convenient to get to and from medical appointments, but even things like taking her kids to and from daycare and going grocery shopping will be much easier.
The giveaway began with Fix Auto and Abbotsford Nissan announcing – through newspaper/radio ads and on social media – that nominations were being accepted from people who knew of someone in need of a reliable vehicle.
Fix Auto president Dave Miller said the ideal candidate is a person who is hard-working and doing the best they can to get ahead. Although they don’t have the funds to purchase a vehicle, they should be able to afford insurance, maintenance and fuel.
About 200 nominations were received, including one from Tremblay’s friend, Cara Ouellette.
The nominations were narrowed down, and organizers met with the candidates to verify the individuals’ circumstances and help make their selection.
Abbotsford Nissan manager Dave Jung said the choice was so difficult that although Tremblay was selected as the main recipient, a second woman was also presented with a gift.
“We felt so overwhelmed by these two young ladies,” Jung said.
Tamara Sawrie, also a single mom, is having a complete overhaul done on her 1994 Honda Civic, which has left her stranded on many occasions.
The vehicle will undergo mechanical repairs, body work and repainting, estimated at more than $8,000.
While the work is being completed, she has been given a courtesy car from Fix Auto.
Tremblay and Sawrie also received artificial Christmas trees and decorations, gifts for themselves and their kids, and gift cards and food (including turkeys) for a full holiday feast – thanks to a $1,000 donation from Sherwin-Williams Paints and a local farmer.
A third woman is also being provided with some gift cards and food to help her through the holiday season.
Miller said the car giveaway, which will continue again next year, is a meaningful part of the season for all those involved.
“We feel we have been blessed, and we need to give back and help someone in need,” he said.
Tremblay said she can’t give enough thanks to those involved.
“I’ve never felt more loved in my whole life – and it was by complete strangers,” she said.