Dani and her mom

I have cerebral palsy from the knees down. My mother has stayed by my side during every surgery, hospital stay and never once complained. On Feburary 2, I underwent full-length spinal surgery, developed a hemotoma blood clot the size of a grapefruit and had my gallbladder taken out. I also developed pancreatitis. For 10 weeks, I was in the hospital, and the only time my mother ever left my side was to go home and get clean clothes. During the times she went home, she always made sure a family member was with me. My mother has given up everything she ever wanted in life so that I could have fulfillment in mine. My mother would take me back and forth to the community college every day so that I could have an education, and yet she was never able to persue her own dreams. My mother even took her life savings and bought me a handicap-accessable van. I know that she use to tell my dad that she was saving that for a convertible someday.

Dani, Kuna, Idaho
Jane O.

My mum is my best friend, father and hero. She has been there for my family since my dad died in July 1991. Our house back in Kenya has always been packed with cousins and uncles all living together under her care. In fact, she likes taking care of people so much that she heads a refuge camp in Kenya. Though my mum does not even have savings of her own, she cannot stand to see a family member, friend or anyone she knows go hungry. In our community, you are supposed to get married to your husband's brother if he dies. When my father died, mum refused. She struggled to raise us from then on, and what she earned was not enough to feed her four children and our extended family. In fact, when her brother died, she took on the care of his thee children as well. Sometimes she was unable to pay rent and had to bring us food to eat from the refugee camps she worked in. Now I look back at how much she has sacrificed to make us happy and I feel that she deserves to get a Mother of the Year award!

Emily, Dallas

My sister, Amanda, is an Iraq war vet and a mother of one. In November 2008 she was diagnosed with stage-three colorectal cancer and quickly began chemotherapy treatments. Amanda had surgery this past March when she was hit with another blow: her husband, Cody, lost his job and they were forced to leave the home the company had provided. Amanda has wanted to give up at times and her biggest fear is not being able to see her son grow up. With help from family, friends, as well as a group of moms online, we all have done our best to help and support for Amanda.  

Malynda Sue, Sauk Rapids, Minnesota
Feanna with her parents

My mom is 43 years old today, and she is currently serving in Iraq. She e-mails me whenever she can, and she is always encouraging me and telling me how I can improve my life. She has been married and divorced three times so she has a lot of life experience, and she doesn't want me to make the same mistakes she did. I am happily married with a beautiful baby girl. My mom is missing all the memories with her first granddaughter because she chose to re-enlist to serve our country. She has four children, one grandson and one granddaughter. Many people think it is only young men serving in Iraq, but no one thinks of the mothers and grandmothers that are there. My mom is the best, and she has no fear because she says God will protect her.

Feanna, Marlborough, Massachusetts
Tabbi's mother

My mom has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know. At the age of 18, she was unable to have children, so she adopted me. We were very poor growing up after my dad and mom split up, so my mom raised me as a single parent. My mom is an assistant chief of police, as well as a detective in her town. She is very good at what she does. The biggest reason I believe my mom is such a strong person comes from this—in 2000, her mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with no hopes of making it. In 2001, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and was given 10 days to live. My mom not only took care of me, but she took care of my grandma as well while we were both going through cancer, not knowing if either one of us would survive. We were all my mom had. In July 2001, her mom passed away. She was my mom's best friend, but she had to cope fast to still help me with my recovery. My mom has always been by my side, and she deserves so much. She put aside so many of her needs and wants to take care of those around her...she is truly a great person!

Tabbi, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Michelle's mother

My mom is like my big sister and best friend all rolled up into one. The best part? She is also my bowling partner and has been for more than 16 years. She bowls with my team here in Peoria, Illinois. We are the "Bowling Divas." Mom has always been there for us kids and Dad. She is 66 years of age and looks like she is 50. We preserve her well. She has always encouraged me and my siblings to do well and help others. She loves her grandkids, although they sometimes mistake the grandkids as hers. She still works because of the high cost of healthcare, and she likes to keep up with her cars. We think our mom is the best.

Michelle, Peoria, Illinois
Kim's mother

My mom. Where do I begin to tell you how amazing she is? She is the most giving of people. She does not have a lot of money, but what she has is time, so that is what she gives. She helps at church, counsels friends and always shows kindness. One of my fondest memories occurred in fifth grade. There was a girl in my class that had a difficult family life and was not very clean because of the poor situation. You can imagine how cruel we, as kids, were to her. My mom saw her walking home in the freezing rain (she lived in the country about five miles from school). She stopped and gave her a ride home. She told me, and I was appalled at the thought. She said to me the most important thing I have never forgotten. She said that if I treated this girl poorly, then I was treating her (my mom) horribly. I didn't understand until she explained to me that she was that girl when she was young. I cried...never had it occurred to me that my mom had a life before me and that it was not as happy and blessed as mine.

From that point on, my heart became softened and kind, and I remember that life lesson daily. This is who she is, not who she is trying to be. There are a million reasons why she is the best mom. I love her with all of my heart.

Kim, Lafayette, Indiana
Jessica's grandparents

My grandmother is my mother. She raised me from the age of 2, after my own mother's struggle with drugs prevented her from caring for me. She sacrificed her own retirement to give me a chance at a better life. She is now 75 and finally retired, and I have grown up, gotten married and have two children of my own. My grandmother continues to help my husband and me out financially so that I am able to stay home with my girls until they are old enough to start school because she feels it is important for me to be with them at this young age.

This woman is not only a hero to me but my angel who saved my life so that I may have a chance. She is the most generous person I have ever met, always putting herself before others. She cares for a friend of her own mother's, who is in her late 90s, because she has little family around to help. Everything my grandmother does is for someone else. She always puts herself last, and in today's world of self-centeredness, she is a rare breed. Financially, I am not able to do anything for her to show my appreciation for all the things she has done for me, but I would love to somehow honor her for the remarkable woman and mother she has been and continues to be for me. She is a true inspiration for the mother I hope to one day be. Like the first break of light after a darkening storm, she has taught me to never give up, never sell myself short and to roll with the challenges that life faces me with, using them for growth and strength. She is an absolutely amazing mom.

Jessica, Fairview, North Carolina 

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