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Crete family takes home new car in a Christmas Eve giveaway

A Crete family was treated Tuesday morning to what they call a Christmas Eve miracle.

At Chevrolet of Homewood, dealership owner Steve Phillipos presented the Farris family with a new 2019 Chevy Sonic.

“This car is hopefully going to change their life,” Phillipos said. “They have two beautiful young boys that have some bad luck in life. They’re going to take them to the hospitals and do the right things for them.”

The showroom was filled with the spirit of the giving as the family came to pick up their new car. The dealership also paid for all the taxes, fees, six months of insurance and other fees related to winning the vehicle.

“It means absolutely everything,” Jeannette Farris said. “It means safe travels, no matter where we go.”

Jeannette and her husband, Anthony Kowalski, have three children, Kaitlyn , Jayden and Matthew. Their sons are diagnosed with ESES epilepsy, which according to the Epilepsy Foundation is medication-resistant condition and a neurodegenerative disease caused by a genetic disorder. She said it’s caused her sons to lose certain skills little by little.

“Matthew has lost the ability to speak, eat and take in anything by mouth and walk unassisted,” Jeannette said. “Jayden is getting to that point, as well. It’s been really tough.”

Jeannette said she and her husband tend to commute a bit both in and out of state.

“We drive around so much it’s unbelievable,” she said. “We drive to therapy, we drive to Rush University. We’ll be going to Mayo (Clinic in Minnesota). We go to Frankfort. We go to Tinley Park. That’s just every single week.”

Neither Jeannette or her husband is currently employed full time. The family hopes the new car will help Anthony to pick up work as an UBER driver.

“We are stay-at home parents because Matthew and Jayden need round-the-clock care,” Jeannette said. “That’s not what we choose to do, but unfortunately it has to be done right now.”

Jeannette said she can envision she and her family commuting back and forth to Minnesota without issue thanks to their new car. She said the timing is on point.

“It’s coming at the perfect time right before the first snowfall,” Jeannette said. “It’s going to be wonderful.”

The Farris family has had it share of trouble with vehicles in the past. Jeannette said getting a new car brings her a sense of relief.

“Just the other day when we got our first snowfall, I ended up in a ditch,” she said. “Our car needs a lot of work. It literally is a Christmas miracle. It’s just unbelievable that Steve does things like this. It’s wonderful.”

This year marks the fifth time the Homewood dealership hosted a contest to gift someone in need with a vehicle.

“All you have to do is drive and believe in miracles,” Phillipos said. “We believe in miracles. These beautiful people are a miracle.”


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