We received dozens of applications for our Hope Rises Mother's Day contest and we wanted to share some of those submissions with you to share the beauty of these amazing moms!
We appreciate each and every one of you, who applied and told us about that special mom in your life.
Stay tuned for more contests honoring the everyday heroes in this world - people doing extraordinary things and spreading kindness, love and HOPE everywhere they go.
These are the heroes we need. These are the heroes, who deserve to be recognized.
Nominee: Serah Masika
Message: When Sarah's young daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, she relocated her family from Kenya to Buffalo in order to get her daughter the best treatment. Thankfully, her daughter is now doing well and is healthy. Sarah puts her energy into helping other children with cancer in Kenya, who do not have the same opportunities to escape.
*Submitted by: Cynthia Bryant
Nominee: Chris Moore
Message: Every mom is a superstar, but I have always known mine was extra special. It takes a tough woman to raise six kids! This past July, I became a mother myself. I had always appreciated my mom, but I gained a new appreciation for everything she does after becoming a mother. I barely had a taste of motherhood when just three months after my baby was born, my mom sat myself and my five siblings down and delivered heartbreaking news - she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She's always been tough, but she was about to fight the biggest battle of her life. In true Chris Moore fashion, she faced it with bravery and humor. When my parents broke the news, they even joked, "How do we sign Dad up for Tinder?"
She's fought for seven months now, just recently finishing chemo. Chemo really beat her up, but she downplayed it to protect us kids. She even continued to work full-time! She's got a long fight ahead - months of daily radiation, and five days after Mother's Day she will go in for a double mastectomy. If anyone deserves some extra love it's this woman. I pray every day to become the mother she has been to myself and to my siblings. She is strong, loving, funny, nurturing. She really is a "Mother Like No Other".
*Submitted by: Meaghan Zimmer
Nominee: Jamie Beiter
Message: My mom wears many ‘hats’. She is not just simply my mom. She is my best friend, when I need someone to gossip to. She is my rock, when I am in need of support. She’s my #1 fan, in anything I do - I know she will be there to cheer me on. She’s soft and sweet, but strong and protective. She would go to the ends of the earth just to protect me and make me happy. She is EXACTLY the woman I want to be when I grow up.
To be a mom, it takes a special woman to handle all the responsibilities. It takes an even stronger woman to be the mom of a child with a life-threatening illness. I know that my illness takes a toll on her. The endless days she spends next to me in the uncomfortable hospital chairs, the long phone calls with insurance companies, the constant doctors‘ visits, added on top of all the other things she balances. I know in the middle of the night she will check on me, just to make sure I am safe. I know the constant fear of losing me wears on her. But she still handles everything with such poise, even if things are falling apart.
Out of all the ‘hats’ she wears, this by far is the one I am most thankful for. She is my warrior. She picks me up when I fall, she encourages me to fight through the bad days, but most importantly she is there to hold me close when I just need my momma. She is my warrior when I can’t be my own. So why does she deserve this day of pampering? Because she deserves a day of thank you’s. I see her not only wear all the ‘hats’ I need her to, I see her do the same for her son, her husband, her job and her friends. She is the first person everyone calls when they need support, but sometimes the last person that gets thanked for all she does. She deserves to know that all the ‘hats’ she wears for everyone are so greatly appreciated, even if we don’t realize how lucky we are. My mother, is like NO other.
*Submitted by: Angelica Beiter
Nominee: Linda Foels
Message: I don't even know where to begin with my mother. She is the definition of a warrior and has always been and will be my hero. She spent 35 years of her life working for the city we reside in, and now that is she retired, it seems she works more than when she got paid. That is because everything she does is volunteer, but if you saw her from day to day, you would assume she was working two full time jobs.
She has the diagnosis of emphysema, which has slowed her down, and made her feel shameful at times, but it has not stopped her. She has always worked for everyone else, except for herself.
The last two years more than ever, she has been my rock. I was fighting a custody battle in California, and during that time was forced to stay as I was under order to not leave with my kids. Anybody can imagine how stressful this is, but for my mom, it was devastating. I was living in California, her daughter, with two of her grandchildren, practically being held hostage and again somehow my mom fought with me and for me and we managed to be able to come back home to Buffalo. There was not one day, I did not cry to my mom. There was not one day, I did not talk to my mom. She dragged me out of so many mentally challenging rock bottoms that I can truly say, if she was not here, I never would have made it out of this battle whole, if at all. Financially, mentally, physically, emotionally, she was my other half.
Even with her declining health, she still flew out to see me and the kids three times. She sent money, she told me to suck it up when needed, and cried with me when needed as well. She let me and my kids move into her home to try to start our life from scratch again, as I won my kids, but lost everything else in the process. My savings, my inheritance, and unfortunately even my moms savings were gone - spent on lawyer fees, and rent to stay afloat in the most expensive area in the country.
She never complained, she never asked for anything back, she simple asked that I fight. I will spend the rest of my life trying to obtain to my mothers strengths, but the fact is, it is an impossible challenge to reach because she is truly one of a kind. I wish I could do so much more for my mom than I am doing, and I wish the world could understand that she is the definition of a parent, a grandparent, a savior, a hero and of course, a warrior.
*Submitted by: Katie Foels
Nominee: Emily Barton
Message: My mom does life mostly by herself because my dad works out of town. She seems to have it together, but some days she doesn't. My sister is really sick, and she's had to leave me to help her. She always says how sorry she is and how much she doesn't mean for it to be this way. She is so nice and tries to make up for lost time.
We just moved, and she is always trying to make life better. She works so hard to get us where we have to be all the time. She just needs a night away! Please think of her and please let her know I do love her and I don't blame her for anything. Love, Cody.
*Submitted by: Cody Barton (Emily's teenage son)
Nominee: Terry Lemmer
Message: Where do I begin? There are many wonderful things I could say about my mother but the first word that always seems to come to my mind is STRENGTH. Mom has definitely had her struggles in life, as does every mom in this world. Motherhood isn't easy. It's how my mom has conquered this crazy thing called LIFE that has me in AWE of her.
While I'm sure you don't have time to read through her whole life's history, I would like to share some key moments of her life to show what an incredibly strong person she is. I'm almost 35 now but the day I was born mom had a blood clot go straight to her heart during the delivery, which technically caused her to "die" on the table. Luckily they were able to revive her but she never got to see me until I was two weeks old.
Fast forward to when I was in fourth grade - at this time it was Mom, Dad, my older brother, me, and my younger sister. Living a happy "normal" life when all of a sudden on a normal Saturday morning, mom had to be rushed to the hospital as she was diagnosed with Meningitis. Her brain has suffered major trauma, she didn't know who she or anyone was, or what was happening to her. After meeting with the doctors, we were basically planning mom's funeral as we were told the outlook wasn't good. They didn't anticipate mom's brain to be able to recoup the trauma it suffered.
A couple days later, my mom started to pull through. She was awake, knew who everyone was, and was on her way to a LONG, but full recovery. Another miracle for mom! Fast forward to November 2001 - life would NEVER be the same as our world was turned upside down. At 3 am, mom had found dad unresponsive on the ground of our upstairs bathroom floor. Terrified, while the ambulance rushed dad to the hospital, mom and us kids followed in pure panic. The doctors met with us and let us know that dad had suffered a major brain aneurysm/stroke in the stem of his brain. They had performed the only procedure that was possible to help him come back. Sadly, the procedure failed and all hope was lost. A few days later...November 11, 2001, Dad passed. Poor mom had just lost her husband, and us kids lost our dad, who was only 49 years old. We weren't prepared. We were lost.
Our lives were forever changed. We were supposed to have at least 30+ more years with our dad. My poor mom was robbed of growing old with her soul mate. How could this happen? As you can imagine, there are so many variables after someone passes. But in our case, it was mom with her three kids. How was life supposed to move on without dad?
Mom kept it together for us kids through EVERYTHING. Through the endless viewing hours, the funeral, through the days after, the following years after, and to this day. She has NEVER stopped going for us kids. Mom never stopped to think, "Why me?". She never felt sorry for herself. She just kept being strong for her family. She kept on, making sure us kids had the best life possible and is now enjoying three beautiful grandchildren whom fill her heart with so much love. While it's hard at times as we miss seeing dad as a grandfather, mom never misses a beat. Her strength is something I admire most about her. She's truly one of a kind and I am so beyond proud to call her my mom. I know Dad is so beyond proud of her, too.
*Submitted by: Kimmy Blankenburg
Nominee: Miriam George
Message: Miriam is a mother of two. She fled Lebanon because of ISIS. Her husband is in the military back in Lebanon. She raises her two little ones with so much grace and love. She left a well paying job back in her country to look for a conducive environment for her children. She deserves some love!
*Submitted by: Serah Masika
Nominee: Maggie Dreyer
Message: My mom never missed one appointment with me when I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at age 16. She kept life at home normal for all five kids, while also being my advocate, care giver, therapist, mom, friend, and my punching bag. My mom took the heat from all of the emotions I felt while on steroids and never once let me know how upset I made her.
She never once let me see her cry even though she was so upset about the cancer killing my body in front of her eyes. My mom didn't stop there. She helped start a foster care program in Western NY and also helped me start a nonprofit to help other teens just like me.
My mom, Maggie Dreyer, co-founder of Kaely's Kindness deserves this more than anyone I know. She works day in and out to help others and it would mean so much for me to be able to try to help her. My mom is the best mom-cologist I know and is so deserving of this!
*Submitted by: Kaely Kwitek (Maggie's daughter)
Nominee: Beverly Kulpa
Message: My mom is the most giving and selfless person I know. She has endured more pain than any person I know and continues to get up each day with a smile and enough love to make the world go round. She kept our family going and strong when my brother battled brain cancer for four years. She kept us going after he passed away at just 17-years-old.
She continues to keep us going each and every day with her positive attitude and love for her family. My mom never takes time out of her day to do anything for herself. She is now the sole person caring for my 91-year-old grandma. She works two jobs, and never says no when her husband, children or grandchildren need her. We can NEVER repay or thank her for what she has done and continues to do. A day of pampering would definitely be much deserved!
*Submitted by: Nicole Bolender
Nominee: Laurie Fritz
Message: I’m not even quite sure how to begin to explain how amazing my mom truly is. I know most people say their mom is the best, and, of course, that’s true. Every mom deserves to be spoiled and recognized for everything they do because honestly it often goes unnoticed. So much is expected of a mom and I know my mom always came through for us without any hesitation.
She was at every sporting event and every concert while we were in school. She has always supported my brothers and I through everything we did, even when my brother joined the Marines. Of course she didn’t want her son to be gone and in harms way, but she knew it was an honorable and respectable choice. She’s the heart and soul of our family.
Even after losing half of her immediate family within six months - mother, father and sister - she was still our rock. With each year, her pride and joy for us has only grown and it now beams through to her grandchildren. As her daughter, I will be the first to admit that I may have grown up a little spoiled. Now, let’s multiply that by 100 and that’s how she treats my daughter. I know that if she had the opportunity to give her grandchildren the world, she would do whatever it takes. She cares for our daughter when we are at work and I know as much as we appreciate it, she loves it.
She taught our Lillian where her elbow is and how to say it. She will read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” 107 times if Lily asks. She even had a blanket made that says, “I love Grandma” for Lily to use when she’s there. The blanket isn’t a lie either. No matter who is around, if Grandma is in the room, that’s who she wants.
She’s this way with all of her grandkids, but unfortunately the others live in North Carolina, which breaks her heart. I don’t know how to really write about all the reasons my mom deserves to be spoiled. She’s just spent so many years putting her children first, and now her grandchildren, that I think a day to herself is more than well deserved.
*Submitted by: Kaitlin Urban
Nominee: Maria Burnett
Message: My mom is amazing. Her heart is bigger than her body. I lost my son a year and a half ago and he was her special boy. They shared the most beautiful bond. Not only has she been heart broken for missing him, but also for me. She really hasn't left the house much since, but despite her grief, she has been my rock.
There hasn't been a day that has gone by that she has not called or texted me to see how I am doing. I cannot think of anyone more deserving than her to be spoiled for a day. She is the true definition of what a mother should be. I love her with all of my heart!
*Submitted by: Lisa Milioto
Nominee: Cheryl Unger
Message: My mother is the most kindhearted, selfless woman there is! She raised my sister and I as a single mother and gave us the best life possible.
She works for Make-A-Wish making a big difference for someone everyday, and helps dog rescues whenever she can. She has helped me through thick and thin and we are absolute best friends. She truly has a heart of gold and deserves to be pampered!
*Submitted by: Kelly Engels