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A Rhode Island mother enters a raffle in honor of her late daughter and wins

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“This car is a vehicle to carry her message of love to the world.”

Tara Reddington and her daughter Grace. Tara Reddington

A Rhode Island mother is the winner of a new purple BMW from the Big Sister Boston car giveaway. She thinks it’s just a miracle.

“I’m still riding on a cloud,” she said. “My family has been through so much, we all needed this.”

Big Sister Boston sold nearly 2,000 raffle tickets. Tara Reddington bought just one, in memory of her late daughter Grace.

“The only thing that caught my eye was that the car was purple in color. It was a color associated with her,” she said. Purple is the designated color for Rett syndrome, a rare neurological condition affecting brain development that claimed the life of Grace Reddington at just 14 years old.

Reddington decided to enter the contest to support an organization that raises money for mentoring programs for girls in Massachusetts.

“I knew it was a donation, we all kind of laughed, and that was it,” Reddington said. But in the back of her mind she was hoping for a sign from her daughter.

“I boldly challenged Grace, like, ‘Okay, girl, do you want to send me something?’ But it was a little joke between me and Grace, because who would have ever thought you would win? she said.

WBZ-TV’s Lisa Hughes called Reddington to let her know of her win on July 28 – which would have been Grace’s 18th birthday.

“It just didn’t seem possible,” she said. “It was much bigger than winning the car.”

Reddington advocates for Rett syndrome research in his hometown of Narragansett, organizing a charity race, the “Race for Grace,” every year. A few years ago, she contacted Mercedes and asked them to donate a purple smart car for a raffle. Although the company couldn’t insure the car, Reddington credits Grace with being on her side.

“Grace never spoke, but she sent me this message loud and clear,” she said. “People who cannot speak or express themselves, they are deeply important. They have such a role in our world.”

Reddington doesn’t know when he’ll get the car, but he hopes to get a custom license plate in his daughter’s honor. However, the memory of her daughter is more important to her than any victory.

“It could be a matchbox car and I’d still be just as excited because I got a big message from Grace,” she said. “This car is a vehicle to carry her message of love to the world.”

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