Vicki Farmers sits behind the wheel of her new 1998 Oldsmobile with Mickey Cherneski

‘Paying it forward’ helps drivers in need

Sooke woman donates old car to help another in need of wheels

Two women now have cars they desperately needed, and another says that she has never felt better in her life after sparking a outpouring of generosity.

Mickey Cherneski, from Sooke, recently bought a 2012 Honda Civic to replace her 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier. She asked about trading in the Cavalier, but the dealership couldn’t offer her much money.

Rather than go through the hassle of selling the car, Cherneski decided to see if she could give it away to someone who needed a vehicle but couldn’t afford one.

In late March she created a Facebook page titled “I’m giving away a car” through which she asked people to either submit their own stories or write on behalf of someone they knew who could really use a car.

Within days Cherneski had received more than 60 responses.

“It was just amazing,” Cherneski said. “Going through all the stories, it was really overwhelming.”

Cherneski narrowed it down to two people who she felt could really use the vehicle.

She made the hard decision to give her car to a mother in Courtenay who has three children, two of which are special needs and need to attend specialist appointments in Victoria once a month.

Without a car, the woman would take the bus, which would turn one day of appointments into a three day ordeal.

Campus Honda, where Cherneski bought her new Civic, agreed to detail the Cavalier for free for the new owner.

Still wanting to help the other person, Cherneski went to Galaxy Motors in Colwood to see if they could come up with a solution. Sure enough, they did.

After some discussion, Galaxy’s owners decided to donate the company’s courtesy car, a 1998 Oldsmobile Delta 88, to the second applicant.

Vicki Farmere is a 63-year-old Sooke resident living on disability who must travel frequently to Oak Bay for medical appointments.

She had a car but it broke down and her daughter had been driving her to her appointments. Her daughter found out about the Facebook page and applied on her behalf

“(I felt) like it was an April Fools’ joke. I’m serious. Until she picked me up I didn’t believe it,” Farmere said. “My stress level has gone so much down because I’ve been so stressed about not having a vehicle.”

David King, general manager of Galaxy Motors, called his company’s contribution a matter of “paying it forward” after being inspired by Cherneski’s generosity.

The dealership supports causes on the West Shore and saw this is another opportunity to help out.

“We saw what (Cherneski) did and were moved by it so we said ‘let’s make it easier on you, you’re stuck trying to decide between two, we’ll just help you support both,’” King said.

Fighting back tears, Cherneski said that the feeling of being able to help these two women has been overwhelming. “It’s been the best experience of my life. I’ve gotten far more out of this than either one of these women have, far more.”

To keep the giving going, Farmere donated her old car to the Sooke fire department to practice with.

“I would recommend anybody, if you ever have the opportunity to do something like this, don’t even hesitate,” Cherneski said. “The reward for me has been great.”