I intended to write a Worst Mom’s List, which included the obvious suspects – Octomom, Balloon Boy Mom, etc. (Kate Gosselin, you got lucky). The list got fairly long when I realized that all of these moms got so much press and attention that they didn’t need me to give them more of the spotlight.
Instead, I found some truly amazing, exceptional women, who also happen to be moms. You may not recognize their names, but you will be inspired by their stories. Here they are in alphabetical order:
Denise Anderson – A Soldier’s Mom
There’s nothing more heart wrenching in motherhood than to survive your children. Denise Anderson lost her only son in the Iraq war. Army Spc. Corey Shea died Nov. 12, 2008 -- with about a month left on his tour of duty – and was buried at the Massachusetts National Cemetery. Anderson, 42, sought a waiver from the Veterans Affairs Department to be buried in the same plot with her son. That privilege is offered only to the spouses and children of dead veterans; Shea, 21, was single and childless. But under the VA's policy, Anderson has to die first to get a waiver. "It was the most devastating blow that I could ever get," Anderson said in an interview with The Associated Press. She is challenging the VA's burial policy embodies what all mothers know: You never stop being a mom.
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Photo: The Associated Press
Caroline Bryant – Gift of Life
In 1997, a pregnant Caroline Bryant was involved in a car crash. Doctors were able to deliver and save her infant son Carter, but Caroline passed away. Her family donated her organs. On New Year’s Day, Bryant’s likeness will be part of the “Donate Life” float at the Rose Parade in California. Carter and Tyla Newbold, one of seven people who received organs from Bryant, decorated a picture of Caroline made out of spices and seeds. "It's just a reminder that some good can come out the tragedies that we have," said Cody Bryant, Caroline's husband, told KSL-TV in Salt Lake City. "Hopefully, if one of my family members needed an organ, someone else would be willing to donate their organs; and there's a lot of people out there waiting for organs that can be helped."
Andrea Ivory – Building "An Army"
Since 2006, breast cancer survivor Andrea Ivory, 50, has helped provide more than 500 mammograms to eligible women -- one door at a time. Ivory, who was just named one of CNN's Heroes of 2009, is on a mission to educate Florida communities about breast cancer. Every weekend in the spring and fall, Ivory and an army of volunteers from Florida Breast Health Initiative, which she founded, canvass low-income communities in southern Florida to educate women about the disease. On the last Saturday of each month, a large mobile mammography van from a partner hospital rolls into the neighborhood, bringing screening technology directly to women who need it. Ivory, a wife and mother who was once a commercial real-estate agent, told The Miami Herald that she credits her husband Willie with allowing her to pursue her vision and giving her a go-ahead to launch her grass-roots organization with about $7,000 from their own pockets. Said Willie Ivory: "Her idea had to be a vision from God. I said go for it."
Ally Jacobs – A Mother’s Instinct
Thanks to women’s intuition the 18-year-long kidnapping case of Jaycee Dugard was solved. University of California-Berkeley Police Officer Ally Jacobs and Police Specialist Lisa Campbell refused to let the creepy feeling they had about accused kidnapper Phillip Garrido go away. Upon meeting Garrido in a bizarre encounter on campus, Jacobs, who has two small children, told the UC Berkeley NewsCentre “police intuition” merged with “mother’s intuition. … I started thinking like a concerned mom.” Garrido and his wife, Nancy, have been charged with 29 felony counts in the abduction of Dugard from a school bus stop in 1991 and holding her in a backyard compound for almost two decades. Dugard and her daughters have now been safely reunited with her family.
Photo: UC Berkeley
Karin McHugh – Miracle Mom
Karin McHugh, 29, was nine months pregnant when she became ill. She called her OB/GYN to find out what to take and was referred to her family doctor who diagnosed her with bronchitis and sent her home with an inhaler. Five days later, McHugh started running a fever and couldn’t get out of bed. She knew something wasn’t right and told her husband to take her to the hospital. Her alertness may have saved her life. McHugh had one of the worst cases of H1N1 and had to undergo an emergency C-section. She remained in a medically induced coma for seven weeks after delivering a healthy baby boy. The Centers for Disease Control has said that pregnant women are seven times likely to be hospitalized with H1N1 and four times likely to die from it. McHugh’s story may alert other pregnant women to get vaccinated.
Photo: ABC News
Kimberly Munley – ‘A Tough Woman’
It was no surprise to family and friends that police officer Kimberly Munley was one of the heroes who helped take down the Fort Hood gunman. Munley was one of the first to respond at the scene of the worst massacre at an Army base in U.S. history. She confronted and shot the alleged gunman, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, and was wounded in the exchange. Munley told Oprah Winfrey about the incident: “I never lost consciousness, and I refused to. I wanted to stay awake and know everything that was going on and control my breathing to make sure I was not going to fall into shock." Last year, Munley, the mother of two, thwarted would-be burglars at her home. One of her neighbors told CNN: "We sleep a lot safer knowing she's on the block."
Photo: The Associated Press/via Munley's Twitter Page
This reports contains material from The Associated Press, CNN, The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, ABC News, UC Berkeley NewsCentre, examiner.com and KSL-TV
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