An Edmonton-area woman who has terminal cancer had a dream come true Monday night, after spending time with her idol: philanthropist and former talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Beth Coulas, 51, was diagnosed with an aggressive, inoperable brain tumour about a year and a half ago.

Doctors told the artist had little time left to live.

When Beth’s son Robert heard that Winfrey was coming to Edmonton, he knew he had to help his mother meet her idol.

“Since I can remember, Oprah has always been in this house on our TV,” Robert had first told CTV News earlier this month.

“I was like this is my opportunity to give back to my mom.”

So Robert made it his mission. He entered Beth into a meet-and-greet contest put on by Southgate Centre.

With 3,500 votes, the family won second place, but after the first-place winner withdrew, the Coulas’ took the top spot – scoring two backstage passes to meet Winfrey.

“She’s as gracious as she was always on television, she didn’t disappoint,” Beth said, after meeting and giving Winfrey a painting she made specifically for the star.

“She recognized that the fairy, the little angel that I drew was in green and I know that’s her favourite colour and she acknowledged that.”

Winfrey even mentioned Beth in her speech, to a crowd of about 15,000.

She talked about how some people face unexpected life problems, like Beth with her brain tumour.

Beth said she was thrilled to fulfill her dream to meet Winfrey and be able to give the star one of her works of art.

The Coulas family says they are grateful for all the support and for the countless number of people who voted for them in the contest.

“An illness you can’t do anything, this is something you can do, and that makes it so special,” Beth said, about the experience.

“When something bad happens that you have no control over, this is a way that everyone can give in a way that they could,” Robert said.

Beth still doesn’t believe the night she had.

“It’s one of those things you never think will happen in your life,” she said.

And the Coulas’ says it was a monumental moment for them, and one they will never forget.

“She (Oprah) said she’d pray for her. I said ‘this might be the last moment with my mom, a big deal for us, thank you for experiencing that with us’ and she gave mom a hug,” Robert said.

With files from Carmen Leibel