Penticton family gets boost after hard year in time for Xmas

Prize won during dark time

Colleen Castle broke down in tears of joy when she got the call Friday morning.

Her 18-year-old son Joshua, who has autism and requires a lot of care, had won the annual Downtown Penticton Association 24 Days of Christmas prize draw, giving him $500 to spend at different downtown businesses. 

It comes at the perfect time. They are both on disability, and it barely covers the bills, let alone extra for a merry Christmas. 

"He had been saying 'Mummy, how will I get you a gift?'" Castle said. "I had bought a used book, and he was going to wrap that for me for Christmas."

Castle's husband passed away in April. She says Joshua still asks about his father, and believes he is going to show up on Christmas morning. 

"We know that's not going to happen. It's been a very hard year," she said, her voice constricting with emotion.

But while nothing can take away that pain, Castle says they are going to have a much happier holiday season thanks to their name being drawn to win the prize package. 

The gift certificates cover 20 different downtown stores, including Joshua's favourite. His eyes lit up when he learned he would have some money to spend at Sirius Science and Nature.

"That's his favourite store," Castle said. "I think he's going to have a great Christmas now." 

Chelsea Powrie

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