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Christmas prize caps a difficult year for Estacada family

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ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Tina and David Lomeli welcomed the news that they had won the Small Business Saturday grand prize drawing.

Winning a grand prize is always memorable, but the award feels even greater after a difficult year.

Tina Lomeli was excited when she received a phone call in early December saying she and her husband, David Lomeli, had won the grand prize drawing for Estacada’s “Small Business Saturday” event, held during the holiday shopping season.

“It was so cool that we won,” she said. “We never actually win anything.”

Tina was diagnosed with breast cancer in July, so she was glad to have something positive to share with her husband.

“I got to tell him that we won,” she said. “It was great to have some good news. We were really happy.”

The Nov. 28 shopping event featured 11 local businesses, all offering sales as part of a national effort to support small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving. In Estacada, people who visited all 11 stores were eligible to win a grand prize valued at more than $600 in gift cards and prizes.

“We hadn’t been doing a lot since we found out I had cancer,” Tina said. “When the opportunity came up for us to go to Small Business Saturday, it was really fun. We had a blast.”

Her favorite places were Barton Antique Mall and Bob’z U-Cut.

Since winning, the Lomelis have had fun again exploring Estacada to use the gift certificates, especially the restaurants and coffee shops. They went to some establishments, such as Lew’s Drive In, for the first time.

“Every Sunday we get a mocha before church,” David said.

They also used their winnings to buy holiday gifts.

“The best part is we won right before Christmas,” he said.

Although it’s been a difficult year, the Lomelis didn’t lose their holiday spirit. They have three Christmas trees in their home, and they’ve been celebrating with their family.

“The best part of the holidays is cooking food and having family over,” Tina said. They hosted 30 people for Thanksgiving and another 30 on Christmas Eve. ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - In a testament to their Christmas cheer, the Lomelis have three trees in their home.

Although Tina’s cancer is in remission, she still has to go through chemotherapy and radiation. She credits her husband’s positive attitude with helping her get through treatment.

“It helps to have a really supportive husband,” she said. “He’s never said anything bad.”

He was particularly supportive when she began losing her hair during chemotherapy.

“When you first look at yourself, when you have no hair or your hair is falling out, I saw Frankenstein, but he didn’t,” she said. “He always tells me I’m beautiful.”

The couple continues to have a positive outlook and support for one another.

“I asked him (David) what he wanted for Christmas, and he just said he wanted me to be well,” Tina said. “So that’s mainly what this Christmas is about — getting well, and starting life again healthy and new.”