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Rhode Island mother enters Big Sister Boston car raffle in honor of her late daughter – and wins

“This car is a vehicle to get her message of love out into 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 raffle. She feels that it’s nothing short of 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 only one, in memory of her late daughter Grace.

“The only thing that caught my eye was that the car was purple. It was a color connected to her,” she said. Purple is the designated color for Rett Syndrome, a rare neurological condition affecting brain development that took Grace Reddington’s life at only 14.


Reddington decided to enter the contest to support the organization, which raises money for mentorship programs for Massachusetts girls. 

“I knew it was a donation, we all kind of had a laugh, 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, girlfriend, you want to send me something?’ But it was kind of a little joke between me and Grace, because who would ever imagine you’d win?” she said.

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

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

Reddington advocates for Rett syndrome research within her town of Narragansett, organizing a charity run, “Race for Grace,” each year. Several years ago, she contacted Mercedes and asked them to donate a purple smart car for a raffle. While the company was unable to provide the car, Reddington feels that Grace was on her side. 


“Grace never spoke, but she sent this message to me loud and clear,” she said. “The people that can’t talk or express themselves, they deeply matter. They have such a role in our world.”

Reddington doesn’t know when she’ll receive the car, but hopes to get a custom license plate in honor of her daughter. To her, though, the memory of her daughter is more important than any win.

“It could be a matchbox car, and I would still be just as excited because I got a huge message from Grace,” she said. “This car is a vehicle to get her message of love out into the world.”


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