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Record-setting RVH 50/50 win brings joy to Barrie family coping with unimaginable loss

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More than two years after a loss no parent should face, a Barrie family is starting the holiday season off with a glimmer of hope after winning the RVH Auxiliary's record-setting November 50/50 draw worth $266,908.

Chad and Jo-Ann lost their teenage son Carson in May 2021 to a sudden brain hemorrhage.

Since his death, the family has struggled to find its way.

"We closed our business the following year, and we have been trying to find our way ever since because it's been impossible without him," Jo-Ann said.

In addition to his parents, Carson left behind his twin Carter and his other brother Justin.

The Nicolle's three sons are pictured in this undated photo. (Supplied)

The 50/50 win is a full-circle moment for the Nicolles because all three of their boys were born in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the same section of the hospital that will collect the other half of their 50/50 winnings.

"So everything is tied together. It was meant to be. It was actually fate," said RVH Auxiliary president Lise McCourt.

"NICUs are so important. There's not another gift that you can give premature babies than the NICU nurses, than the facilities," said Jo-Ann. "Families, moms especially who need to get rest, they need to not be worrying and scared that they have to leave their babies and go home and come back; they are fretting constantly. This is such a great gift."

The monthly 50/50 draw, which is nearing its third anniversary, aims to raise millions of dollars to renovate the NICU, something the auxiliary president said is desperately needed.

"Right now, the families and the babies are so crowded in there, and we have seen what the new NICU is going to look like, and we are going to work tirelessly to make that dream come true," said McCourt.

After two trying years, the Nicolle family got the call that they were the lucky winners, and it happened on Chad's 52nd birthday.

"It gives us a chance to step back and breathe a little bit and just enjoy a couple things for a little while. We've got two boys and home, and it's just going to make life a little bit easier right now," said Chad.

As the holidays approach, their 50/50 win will bring some relief to a season that has been challenging since the closure of their business.

"I was worried last night. I said I want to get my son some cologne; it was like $125," said Jo-Ann. "I buy him cologne every year. It's the one thing I like to do for him. I was like, where am I going to get $125 right now?! Well, I've got $125," she chuckled.

Surrounded by auxiliary volunteers with tears in their eyes as they accepted the big cheque at RVH, the Nicolles said that they could feel their son Carson looking down on them.

"He's saying I love you mom, and I love you daddio, and you deserve this. I wish I was there to share it with you," Jo-Ann concluded.

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