Family of hit-and-run victim given new home
Published Saturday, December 22, 2012 5:36PM PST
Last Updated Saturday, December 22, 2012 6:47PM PST
The family of an East Vancouver hit-and-run victim is getting a brighter Christmas after members of Vancouver’s corporate community donated to them a rent-free home for the next eight months.
Leonida Tumanda, 43, was struck down in the intersection of East 43rd Avenue and Prince Edward Street three weeks ago. The accident happened when Tumanda was just steps away from the family’s rented home. The driver left the scene.
Tumanda’s husband, Nilo, and their two daughters are still reeling from the sudden death. To give the family a chance to move away from the home that reminds them of the tragedy, a development company has given them a temporary new home. The house is slated to be demolished for development.
“We have all these houses that are vacant, so why don’t we get together and help this family out?” said Sasha Faris with Intergulf Development Group. “It’s just coincidental that one of the families was moving out prior to this, so why don’t we use this for this family, help them get back on their feet?”
Nilo had accepted the company’s offer, but unbeknownst to him was the fact that many individuals and businesses in the community had also come together to decorate and furnish the place.
As the Tumanda family was lead into the house on Saturday, four-year-old Aneesa could not believe her eyes. Walking into a playroom filled with new, donated toys, she repeatedly asked, “That’s mine?”
The kitchen was also stocked with food for the holidays. In the living room, hung stockings and a beautifully-decorated Christmas tree with gifts at the bottom greeted the Tumanda family.
“I am very, very happy,” said Nilo. “It helps a lot.”
Earlier this month, the widower appealed to the driver behind the hit-and-run incident to come forward. At the time, Nilo said he was still struggling to tell Aneesa that her mother was dead.
Kim Cassar Torreggiani, one of the people who helped organize the surprise, says she hopes the new home can help Nilo and his two daughters put aside their grief over Tumanda’s death for just a while.
“All we wanted to do was give them some relief, and some nice haven to just be together as a family and get through this,” she said.
With files from CTV British Columbia’s Peter Grainger