As I mentioned in a previous post, I was chosen out of 16, 909 nominations to be a top 8 finalist in the Mom of the Year award program by Walmart Canada. All eight moms and their families were treated to a fun weekend in Toronto. There was a gala on Sunday night, where the grand winner was announced. From beginning to end, it was a spectacular weekend.
I spent two days being pampered- massages, mani/pedicures, driven around by limo’s, had my hair/makeup done for me, was showered with gifts. It was overwhelming, to say the least. I’ve never been too focused on gifts or appearances, but I have to say that it was nice to have “Christmas” in September, and to let loose my inner diva.
I want to tell you about the amazing women I was privileged to spend time with. Carol, Tammy, Helen, Wendy, Eileen, Karen, Olivine and I were the eight finalists. We are as different and as similar as can be. We come from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and PEI. We range in age from 34 to 84. Our families have been affected by many different things- cystic fibrosis, cancer, mental illness, autism, epilepsy, developmental delay, kidney disease, learning disabilities, lack of access to resources, and the list goes on. The common thread between all of us: we all dedicate our lives to change. We all saw something happening in our families and communities that we didn’t like. We were all brave enough to step in.
Our fairy tale continued at the gala on Sunday night. We arrived by limo (of course), were met by a flurry of photographers, entered on the red (actually it was blue) carpet, and were treated to a night of wonderful food and entertainment. Natalie Choquette, a beautiful soprano singer, and her two daughters serenaded us. Even though the food was spectacular, nerves were ruining my appetite. The Canadian Tenors came to my rescue by performing an incredible set that went right through dinner. Their velvety voices kept me calm.
About ten minutes before the grand winner was announced, a shocking thought ran through my head. What if I won? What would I say? I had been suppressing this thought for months, because I don’t like getting my hopes up. As we watched all the videos and I realized mine was last, I started to wonder if I might actually win. I also made a conscious decision to let myself cry. I’m not typically a crier. As Jason read my nomination and we watched the video segment about Sophia, I let the tears trickle down my cheeks. My tears were barely dry when they made the announcement. Half way through the description of the winner, I realized with a shock that it was me. Cystic Fibrosis Canada was going to receive $100,000. In the four years I’ve been fundraising, I haven’t been able to raise as much as Walmart Canada was going to donate in that one night. In that moment I felt so much hope for Sophia’s future. I had to pull myself together to make a speech. I said what I’ve been thinking since Sophia was born: My goal in life is to help find a cure (or control) for cystic fibrosis. I don’t want Sophia to ever know that when she was born people didn’t expect her to live into her 40s or beyond.
“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.” (Samuel Smiles)
Together we can make CF stand for Cure Found.