Brent and Nicole Keryluke and their two children were a happy family. Brent was a classic car enthusiast, and he was proud of owning a 1973 Pontiac Parisienne.
The man had bought the old car and put in a lot of time and effort in order to make it look amazing, a vintage car that his children would hopefully enjoy when they got older.
However, life had other plans for the Red Deer, Alberta, family of four.
A few years ago, Brent and Nicole lost their lives in a motorcycle crash, leaving their children, then 6 and 3 years old, behind.
Thankfully, both Brent’s mother and father were there to take in the children and bring them up, but the emotional pain, along with the financial needs they were suddenly facing was enough to put them down.
“I was semi-retired… I thought I might be able to make it by. And then now we’ve got two children to raise,” Ben Keryluke told As It Happens.
Unfortunately, both Ben’s grandchildren have trouble hearing, so at the time, they needed to visit speech therapists and audiologists at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary regularly.
This meant extra costs, which the couple just couldn’t afford. And they knew that just going back to work was not an option for them.
“And we can’t very well go back to work because when you’re 66 years old and you’re raising little children, it takes up all of your time,” Ben admitted.
So, they had to make a painful decision. They would sell their son’s favorite classic car.
The Kerylukes prepared the car and took it to Electric Garage Auctions hoping to raise at least $14,000. But what happened next exceeded their expectations.
You see, the auctioneer who introduced them, also talked about their background story and why they were selling the car that they so much loved.
Even before the day the auction took place, the auction house had started promoting the car and sharing the owner’s story, so people already knew and they were ready to go above and beyond to help a family in need of support.
Indeed, the car was soon sold for $29,000 to Rod McWilliams from Red Deer Motors. But then he donated it back to the auction house, giving the chance to Danny Fayad from Edmonton to buy it for $30,000 and give it right back.
Finally, it was sold for $20,000 to Bob Bevins from Bulldog Metals, who donated it back to the Keryluke family.
As Bevins explained, it was far more important emotionally to this family than for him to own another classic car.
Besides the $80,000 that was raised from the auction, the local community went on raising money for the family with donations reaching a total of at least $100,000.
The family was so grateful to those who donated for their cause and they really felt relieved after leaving the auction house.
They now knew that people in their community cared about them, and that they were not alone in this.