HOMEWOOD, IL – A family battling some serious health issues is the new winner of a brand new car, thanks to Chevrolet of Homewood. For the fifth year in a row, the suburban dealership has given away a free car to a family in need. On Christmas Eve, employees at the dealership selected the Farris family as the winner.
With more than 400 submissions, choosing a winner was far from easy. However, the Farris family clearly stood out, according to the dealership’s owner.
“It was very, very tough for us to pick the winner, but we did,” Steve Phillipos, the dealership’s owner said. “We have a slogan around here at Christmas time, ‘do you believe in miracles?’ And at Chevrolet at Homewood, the answer is ‘yes, we do believe in miracles.'”
Phillipos and his staff called the Farris family on Tuesday to inform them of the good news. They are now the proud owners of a brand new 2019 Chevy Sonic. The dealership will also be paying for all the taxes, fees, insurance and any additional fees associated with winning the car.
“Thank you, thank you so much,” Jeannette Farris said on the phone with the dealership while holding back tears.
Farris and her husband have two kids, Matthew and Jaden, who suffer from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Matthew was born on Nov. 16, 2010 and was a healthy little boy until March 2014 when he had his first seizure. At just 3-years-old he was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of epilepsy. It is non-treatable even with medication.
“It took away his ability to sit up straight, walk unassisted, play on the playgrounds and talk,” Farris said.
His brother Jayden suffers from the same terminal disease. He, too, was diagnosed with it at the age of three.
“He just had surgery on Dec. 9. He had a really bad recovery due to the steroids. They’re both on several medications, six seizure medications, not including vitamins and CBD oil,” Farris added.
Kids with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome have an increased risk of death. It is caused by inherited genetic and inherited degenerative or metabolic conditions. No cure has been found.
The family travels often to Boston Children’s Hospital for medical treatment. According to Farris, their current car is unreliable.
“Our car has a 170,000 miles. The transmission is going out. The tires are getting worn,” Farris said.
On Feb. 4, the family will start making the six-hour drive to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
“Hopefully they can provide us with some relief and give us some answers and maybe even come up with a trial medication. We’re just extremely hopeful for that,” Farris said.
According to the dealership, the family will use the new car that they’ve won to travel with the kids safely. The kids’ father, Anthony, will also start using it to be an UBER driver.
“Since both parents care for their children full time it is hard to maintain a job and the flexibility of being an UBER driver will change their life,” Andrea Malachowski, the dealership’s social media director, said.
Video of dealership announcing the winner of the 2019 Homewood Chevy Cares: