'Truly grateful': Red Deer dealership gives new car to family of girl battling cancer
Kimberly Lange wasn't expecting much when she brought her daughter's 2001 Chevrolet Malibu to a Red Deer car dealership — just some new brakes and tires. She just wanted to make sure her granddaughter, 9-year-old Cadance Smallboy, could get to her cancer treatments safely.
But Lange didn't just get new brakes or tires. Instead, Red Deer Mitsubishi gave her family with something better: a brand new car.
"Oh my God," Cadance's mother Cassandra Morin said as the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage rolled up behind her on Saturday. "I don't know what to say."
'They have nothing to worry about'
Cadance was diagnosed with leukemia in June. Since then, Morin has been driving her from Wetaskiwin to Edmonton for chemotherapy treatment several times a week.
Cadance is almost six months into her treatment, but the family will make the trip to Edmonton hundreds more times over the next two years until treatment is finished.
Sales consultant Christian Morales learned about the family's story when Lange came into the dealership in September.
He asked why her head was shaved, and found out it was a show of support for Cadance.
The entire family sports the short haircut, and shortly after meeting Cadance, Morales did, too. He let Cadance shave his head at the dealership, and livestreamed the event on Facebook.
"When I first met Cadance, her heart was so full of joy," Morales said.
"It was amazing. Amazing to meet such a beautiful girl."
Staff at the dealership felt compelled to make sure the family had a safe and reliable vehicle for driving Cadance to treatment.
The family came to the dealership to pick up the problem-riddled Malibu on Saturday, but general manager Chad Protasiewich wasn't going to let that happen.
"You would have to spend ... $5,000 to $7,000 just to make it safe," he said. "We couldn't have that."
The dealership bought the 16-year-old car for $2,500, replaced it with the Mitsubishi, and threw in summer and winter tires and a 10-year warranty.
"They have nothing to worry about," Protasiewich said. "We're going to pay the maintenance on their car for as long as they own it, so they just drive."
The season of giving
The holiday season inspired dealership staff to give the car to the family.
"It's just the time of year," Protasiewich said. "We're hoping if we do something nice for somebody, someone will see it on TV, Facebook, media and they'll pass it on and do something nice."
The staff ultimately hopes their gift can help relieve some of the family's stress.
"I know what a tough time they're going through," Protasiewich said. "They're handling it like an amazing, strong family."
Morin, who has only been driving for a year and a half, said the new car will help her feel more comfortable when making the trip to and from Edmonton.
Lange said she's relieved she doesn't have to worry about her family's safety on the road anymore.
"I'm truly grateful," she said through tears. "Truly."