6-six-year-old Orion Parisien-Wawea, who has leukemia, and his mom Sierra Book were gifted a new Nintendo Switch gaming console Monday Dec. 21, 2020 thanks to the giving spirit of a Penticton business owner that quickly spread throughout the community, leading to four other struggling families receiving gifts. (Jesse Day - Western News)

6-six-year-old Orion Parisien-Wawea, who has leukemia, and his mom Sierra Book were gifted a new Nintendo Switch gaming console Monday Dec. 21, 2020 thanks to the giving spirit of a Penticton business owner that quickly spread throughout the community, leading to four other struggling families receiving gifts. (Jesse Day - Western News)

Penticton’s giving spirit shines as donations for struggling families pour in

Six-year-old with cancer receives Nintendo; community rallies behind game shop to help more families

What started as one local business owner wanting to do something to give back to the community over the holidays has snowballed into something much bigger, spreading the spirit of giving throughout Penticton.

Trevor Sparreboom, owner of the retro video-game shop Game Cave, recently took to social media looking for a family in need whom he could help out this Christmas by giving them a new Nintendo Switch gaming console.

Once the public caught wind of Sparreboom’s big-hearted actions, it triggered a waterfall of giving among locals. Various anonymous people stepped up and donated a video game console and gift cards to be given to struggling families this Christmas.

READ MORE: Penticton business owner giving holiday cheer with video games

It started with one customer who came into Game Cave and bought an Xbox One console and a few games and asked Sparreboom to donate the gifts to a deserving family.

Sparreboom detailed the actions of the generous customer on social media. The post quickly made the rounds among locals and inspired numerous others to purchase more gifts for families in need.

“It just snowballed from there, I started getting customers coming in donating 20 bucks, 50 bucks, 30 bucks… they all just wanted to pitch in and put it towards gift cards or games,” Sparreboom said.

In the end, Sparreboom was able to donate the Nintendo Switch console he had originally intended with two extra games as well as the Xbox console purchased by the anonymous customer, and a total of $300 in gift cards accumulated from multiple donations.

In total, because of the community’s generosity, Sparreboom was able to help five families in need — four more than he originally intended.

Sparreboom decided to split the the $300 in gift cards into three $100 gift cards and donate them to three separate families. He also donated the Nintendo and Xbox consoles to two other families.

Picking which families to donate the gifts to was extremely difficult, Sparreboon said. He received over 100 nominations of struggling families. “I wish I could help everybody, it was really hard to narrow it down,” he said.

Eventually he chose to donate the Nintendo Switch to six-year-old Orion Parisien-Wawea and his mom Sierra Book from Keremeos. The four other families who received the gifts wished to remain anonymous.

Orion was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago. On the day (Dec. 21) he and his mom picked up the Nintendo from Game Cave, they had just returned from chemotherapy treatment in Kelowna.

READ MORE: Keremeos three-year-old battles Leukemia

Orion could not have been happier with his early Christmas gift. He was so excited he immediately opened the box and began playing in the car.

“He’s been asking for a Switch for a couple years now,” Book said. “When we first got here he was really shy but once we got into the van he totally flipped out and was already playing it.

“It just means a lot to us to be nominated and that Orion actually got it.”

Orion’s favourite game is Super Mario Bros, the six-year-old said. His mom anticipates he’ll be playing a lot of Super Mario in the future.

The last three years have been extremely difficult for Orion and his family, Book said. They’ve been constantly travelling to and from Kelowna and Vancouver for treatment.

“There’s been a lot of up-and-downs and tears and week-long stays in the hospital but hopefully by September (2021) he should be done his treatment,” Book said.

The family is hopeful that by the end of Orion’s treatment in September he will have beaten leukemia and will be able to go on living a happy, healthy life.

Both Book and Sparreboom were astonished at the generosity shown by locals, especially in such a challenging year.

“It just shows you that there’s still a lot of warm Christmas spirit in a lot of people, it was really heartwarming to see everybody stepping forward and wanting to help.” Sparreboom said. “Everyone (that received gifts) was super, super happy.

“One guy was crying he was so touched by it. It makes me feel good personally and it makes me feel good that the community stepped up to make it possible.”

In the future, Sparreboom hopes to continue the giving tradition at Game Cave. The new business owner said he already has plans to make this a yearly event and hold an annual Christmas gift drive for families in need.

READ MORE: Gamers flock to new retro video game shop in Penticton



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ChristmasHoliday giving

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Christine Perkins is the new superintendent of schools for the Vernon School District, effective Aug. 1. Perkins moves to the North Okanagan from the Kootenay Lake School District in Nelson. (Vernon School District photo)
Vernon School District names new superintendent

Dr. Christine Perkins moves from Kootenay Lake district to take over from the retiring Joe Rogers

Vernon Public Art Gallery executive director Dauna Kennedy and board member Kyle Britton accept a $43,400 grant from the BC Arts Council one-time StrongerBC fund amid the COVID-19 pandemic April 9, 2021. (VPAG)
$43K boost for Vernon gallery

Province backs local art gallery with one-time pandemic grant

A 46-year-old man from Armstrong died in Revelstoke hospital after being injured in the Lumby area. (File photo)
Armstrong snowmobiler dies in Revelstoke hospital

46-year-old man injured in Tsuius Mountain area of Monashees around Lumby area

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Spallumcheen landlord’s home trashed by tenants

Rooms filled with junk, garbage, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read