(KELOWNA, BC) Life was already tough enough for a single Kelowna dad with three kids and a new business.
But for Simon Ng, the real struggle began last July when his 11-year-old daughter Myranda was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – the same type of bone cancer that stopped Terry Fox.
The diseased lower leg was amputated and Myranda began regular chemo treatments at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. But the family’s 1998 Tercel was never designed to hold an extended family of two adults, four kids and a full-sized wheelchair, especially for weekly return trips of 780 km.
For all these reasons, the partners in the Freedom Road Project – Craftsman Collision, Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) and BC Automobile Association (BCAA) –selected Mr. Ng as the first beneficiary of their charitable initiative: a refurbished 2010 Limited Edition Ford Explorer plus $1000 worth of insurance.
Mr. Ng was lured to the Dec. 22 presentation at the Craftsman Collision Kelowna shop by his companion Sandra under the pretext of redeeming a coupon. Instead, he found a smiling group of family and friends and a near-mint SUV full of gifts for his children.
“It was a total surprise,” said Mr. Ng, a former youth pastor who now officiates weddings, works as a youth counselor and mentors minor hockey teams. “The car is beautiful, it looks great. I’m still in shock.”
“Simon is more than worthy,” wrote one of several individuals nominating him for the award. “He gives and gives and gives to the community. He is one of the most soul-filled men I know, and really deserves the break.”
“Simon is a dynamite dad, a kind, responsible and caring human being who has given back to the youth of Kelowna for many years,” wrote another.
“Hearing and reading about so many families and charities in need in the Central Okanagan made it hard to keep a dry eye,” said Rick Hatswell, CEO of Craftsman Collision, which was lead partner in the Freedom Road Project and whose technicians and painters restored the Explorer to a showroom-like lustre.
“We hope this will bring some much-needed Christmas cheer to the Ng family after having such a tough year, and we look forward to working with the same partners on the Freedom Road Project again next year.”
“We are so proud to participate in this meaningful project which gives us the opportunity to give back to the communities where we live and work,” said claims adjuster Gladys Kosowan of international insurance group RSA, another Freedom Road partner. “It is amazing to see how the Freedom Road Project brings the whole community together and brings happiness to a family in need during the holiday season.”
“Everyone at BCAA wishes Simon and his family many safe journeys, good health and happiness,” said Stu Miller, General Manager, BCAA Auto Service Centre Kelowna. “Keeping British Columbians safer on the road and giving back to our communities right across the province is an important part of what we do and one way that a BCAA Membership is rewarding. BCAA Kelowna and West Kelowna are very proud to help Simon on his way with $1,000 towards insurance and a $100 gas card from our Member Savings partner Petro-Canada; as well as a further $1000 of repairs and a vehicle inspection from our Auto Service Centre to provide peace of mind.”
Other companies contributing to the Freedom Road Project include Pro Body Parts, Kelowna Ford Lincoln, Fountain Tire, White & Peters, Tom’s & Merritt Towing, Old Navy, BCAA Claims Team (gifts for the Ng children), Michaels (craft supplies) and Loadza Toyz.