Moms inspire us and enrich our lives in so many ways. Today, we celebrate moms everywhere. Beginning in 2015, we began asking our community to share their stories of how their mothers have touched their lives. This year's contest may be over, but we'd love to hear your story in the comments section. Here are some of our favorite entries:
"She was there through EVERY test ...every chemotherapy treatment and every radiation treatment."
My name is Stacey Rundio. I am writing about the best, most sacrificial woman in the world. I am talking about a woman that hangs her laundry outside (even in the snow!), makes all meals from scratch and takes care of everyone in her life. Her grandchildren would go hungry with our her ;).
When I was 22, I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This was obviously very shocking and devastating to me and my family and friends. I made a vow that I would beat cancer - and I did! I could not have done it without my mother. She was there through EVERY test (including the beginning bone marrow biopsy, watching me cry on HER birthday), every chemotherapy treatment and every radiation treatment. I lived at home then, so she also took care of me through the constant throwing up, hair loss, and physical and mental exhaustion.
A little over 2 years ago, when she was 66 years old, she was diagnosed with peritoneal cancer. It was now our turn to help her. She had a tough time - several hospital stays, chemotherapy, hair loss and complete loss of appetite. We would FORCE her to eat - not an easy task as she would gag on everything. We finally settled on Ensure shakes and puddings. She completed all treatments 16 months ago. All follow-up tests and Dr. appointments have been favorable. However, she still has no real hair growth. She does not love wearing a wig (I know what that is like, and understand completely). She has tried shampoos, diets and vitamins for hair growth to no avail.
She looks cute in the scarves and hats from headcovers.com, but I pray that her hair grows back soon.
Happy Mother’s Day, MOM!
"We have to take time to love ourselves"
Hair loss isn't always about cancer. My mom has dealt with alopecia since she was a child when patches of hair would randomly fall out. Once she got into her 30's her hair loss was more aggressive and she now wears wigs and/or hats on a daily basis. She just turned 41 at the end of April and her, me, and my dad all went and ran our first 5K for alopecia. It was called the Bare Hare 5k held for a young girl who also is experiencing alopecia at a young age like my mom.
As you can see from the pic she is wearing one of her favorite hats (with a wig) from Headcovers. My mom made me very proud that day after the pic was taken she took off her hair and ran the 5K in honor of herself and others with alopecia. This was a long time coming because as a child and an adult she has had some not so nice things said about her lack of hair. We all have different journeys in health and hairloss and life in general but we have to take time to love ourselves and like my mom always says, "I just want to be the best me I can be."
Here are a few of the inspiring stories from our 2015 Mother's Day Contest.
"My mother would never let me give up."
by Deanna King
My mom arrived from her hometown on Feb 28th to attend my biopsy appt with me. Both sure that it was only a cyst she made plans to return home that weekend. Two days later I received the call to come I to the doctors office where I would received the devastating news that I had Triple Negative Stage III Breast Cancer. I was 35 years old, a mom of a little girl, wife and now breast cancer warrior.
The first 2 weeks I might as well of just crawled in a grave. But my mother would never let me give up. She never went home. She's been with me every day since, making sure I eat, walk, get to my appts, held my hand as I cut my long beautiful thick hair and then went on to shave it. This pic is of me, her and my hubby on our way to my first chemo. I don't really know what I would have done without her. I still can't even wrap my mind around it sometimes. No one deserves this more then her.
"My mum has always been there for me"
by Pauline Stacey
My Mum 65 has Multiple Myleoma , and has had a stem transplant which lasted 3 years and it has now come back, so now it is just a waiting game to see how bad she gets and what treatment is next another transplant or tablets. I am 47 and have had Alopecia Universalis since I was 21 and hate it , but my mum has always been there for me buying your beautiful scarfs and beanies now we can share when she loses her hair.
"Her strength is shown in her selflessness"
by Paloma Hernandez
A couple of months ago my mother was diagnosed with Stage 1 aggressive Breast Cancer. We are so fortunate that they caught it early on and that she was able to have an intensive surgery to prevent the cancer from spreading anymore. Today, she had her first out of four chemo sessions. So far, everything is going well and we all hope that she'll be in great spirits when Mother's Day comes around!
I am extremely proud of her for having the courage to go through so much in such a short amount of time. Despite everything that has happened, I feel like she is the one who is constantly supporting me. Her strength is shown in her selflessness and I cannot wait to return home and be able to support her
through the next steps! Included is a picture of us bright and early in the morning before her surgery. So much has changed since then but we're all
still happy and grateful of the outcome.
"She instilled that it is better to give than receive"
by Amie Moses Psarudakis
I consider my mother, Martha Moses, to be the embodiment of womanly strength. She has worked diligently all of her life to provide everything she could afford for my brother and me. Our family situation was an unusual one that forced my mother to raise us both as a single parent. She has always been there for us through the years and did without so she could give to us. She taught us to work hard and be patient and that we will be rewarded for our hard work. She also instilled in us that it is better to give than to receive. In January of this year I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Within a week of his birth, her regular physician noticed some abnormalities in her blood work and sent her for a bone scan. When the results came back, she was diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer.
She is currently undergoing chemo treatments and bone strengthening treatments. This diagnosis got her down to begin with, but the strength she has always had took hold and she is now fighting this cancer. The last 3 months have been a whirlwind of doctor appointments, treatments, tears, and laughter. She has kept up her strength and tried not to let it get her down. She has now lost most of her hair and is wearing scarfs and caps most of the time. I hope that I am able to always show the same strength to others that my mother has always shown throughout her life.
"She has never let down her 5 grandchildren"
by Michelle Walden
I would love to nominate my mother, Gloria Rubas Messina. She was diagnosed in October of 2014 with cervical cancer. During her radical hysterectomy, they also found that she had stage II Fallopian Tube cancer, which they were previously unaware of. Although her world has been flipped upside down, and some days are hard, she has never let down her 5 grandchildren in which she consistently remains happy, outgoing and energetic around them. She welcomes them in, visits and picks them up, and attends their school functions.
She is entering in her 6th cycle of chemotherapy, and although this was scheduled to be her last cycle, it is most likely going to continue for a little while longer into another session. We have experimented with wigs, wraps and hats,and always wanting to try something new. We would appreciate the gift more than anything this Mother's Day. Good Luck to all of the women and Mother's fighting their battle. Love to you all xoxo
"My mother continues to radiate and glow"
by Ash Michelle Ziegler
My Mom, Barbara Ziegler, is incredibly wise. One of my favorite quotes from my
mom is in regards to when my siblings and I walked to the bus stop for elementary school. Some days, it would rain and there would be no umbrella in the house or at least we could never find one with a family of eight children. Instead of driving us to the bus stop, my mom would tell us, "Let your smile be your umbrella." Moaning, we would walk in the rain only to find ourselves joking and jumping in the puddles.
In retrospect, she taught my siblings and I the power of our own outlook. She gracefully embodies this now as she battles Stage 4 Breast Cancer, diagnosed this past January. As a large family, we have seen our worth of crucibles with my older brother having been diagnosed with brain cancer a year ago. We have ALWAYS been able to see through the rain and deep fog of life. Amazingly my mother continues to radiate and glow as she keeps our family together. My siblings have never been more courageous and faithful due to her internal wisdom and infinite beauty. We love you Mom!!!! Don't stop believing for a cure!
Mark Ziegler, Lauren Ziegler, Mike Ziegler, Ash Michelle Ziegler, Matthew Ziegler, Missy Ziegler, Gregory Ziegler, and Carolyn Ziegler
"She is so strong and beautiful"
by Val Shwalb
Back in August 2011, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought a hard fight, going through endless surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments that ended on October 11, 2012. Ever since then, I have changed greatly. I am so lucky that my mother is alive and healthy, still working and being the best mother in the world. She tends to still have some issues with how she looks and her terrible hair loss struggle. She has worn a wig ever since her chemotherapy treatments in early 2012. She has lost her hair, including her eyebrows, which she has to draw on everyday. I always tell her that her hair loss is not what matters, and her health and well-being is what's important.
She is so strong and beautiful and her journey has taught me so much. It was my journey too, watching her struggle and waking up in the morning to find her crying over the sink with her hair falling out. She has gone through so much, having no hair for over 4 years, attempting different hair growth treatments that simply don't want to work.
From this journey, I have learned a lot of being grateful and helping others in need or those that may be going through the same situation as me. Cancer is absolutely terrible and should not exist, but sadly life is not perfect and people need to go through the bad times to get to the good times at the end of the tunnel. I am so proud of my mom for staying strong through her cancer fight and I love her so much. Happy Mother's Day, especially to those strong moms going through difficult times!
"She never lets her diagnosis define her"
by Kelly Mikilani
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2014, just six months ago. No one expected it; who would think a friendly, less-than-fifty-year-old woman would ever have cancer? In spite of that, my mom refused to give up. When she had a mastectomy and was forced to have over a dozen lymph nodes removed, she didn't ever sulk. Sometimes, when she picked me up from school, with her sunglasses over her eyes and a smile that could outshine the headlights of her car, I'd forget she wasn't completely healthy. Even when she started chemotherapy, which she is still going through now, she kept a positive outlook.
Her hair may have fallen out, and her blood count may drop below normal, but she never lets her diagnosis define her. She also never lets her motherly love fade. Every day, no matter how tired she is, she asks me how my day was. She may have to lie down to listen, but she never turns me away. I always knew she was strong, but now, I know just how brave she is. She's brave enough to continue chemotherapy, despite the pain it causes her. She's brave enough to pencil in her eyebrows and watch her eyelashes swirl down the shower drain. She's brave enough to tie her headscarf around her head and wear it proudly. Most importantly, she's brave enough to remain a good mother, maintain her friendships, and beat cancer, all at the same time.
"She is a constant source of love and support"
by Selene Yuen
I'm 49 yrs old with stage IIC ovarian cancer. Over the past 3 years, I have undergone many different chemotherapy regimens including a trial drug. While the cancer is being “managed”, it had spread to my abdomen and lungs and I currently get weekly infusions. Through all of this, my 77 yr old mother has been selfless and steadfast in her efforts to take care of me. She “baby’s” me with her homemade soups and delicious meals. Knowing that I’m immune compromised and iron deficient, she buys all ingredients and makes everything from scratch to ensure that they’re the most nutritious and without preservatives.
I'm inspired by all the mothers out there who are so strong and caring. I consider myself the luckiest to have a mom who is the very definition of strength. She’s a petite woman with arthritis, poor eyesight, degraded hearing, and osteochondritis dissecans of the knee but she remains a powerhouse with incredible energy. Despite all the ailments she has, my mother is selfless and never misses any of my weekly infusions. Every now and then, I catch a glimpse of pain in her eyes and know that my cancer is killing her too but she never complains or gets sullen and is a constant source of love and support for me. There’s not enough words to express my gratitude and appreciation – she’s the mother of the century in my book!
Inspired? Share your story in the comments below. And don't forget to share it with mom too!