Honoring Our Advocate Mothers on Mother's Day
May 07, 2010

By Christine Vara
As we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, mothers around the nation will be honored by their children.   Some will receive flowers; some breakfast in bed.  Some will treasure a handprint on a card or a homemade crafted flower pot.  However, the gift most treasured of all will be the gift of love and life – the gift of having a child and becoming a mother.
What amazes me the most about becoming a mother is the abundance of love that you feel for your child from the moment of birth.  It is immeasurable.  Indescribable.  And so remarkably powerful.  A mother wants nothing more than peace, health and happiness for their child – which is why it is so unimaginable for a mother to have to watch their child suffer from, and sometimes even lose their life to, vaccine preventable diseases.
This is the reality for Belinda Duvall, Katie Van Tornhout, Brendalee Flint, Frankie Milley, Denise Palmer, Danielle Romaguera and countless others.  Each of these mothers has a very different story to tell.  Yet, each of their stories involves pain, suffering and tragedy.
Fortunately, these mothers, as well as the Vaccinate Your Baby spokeswoman Amanda Peet, have the strength and courage to speak out to help educate others and spread the word that vaccines can save lives.  In honoring these special mothers, I hope you will take some time to read their stories here and express your gratitude in comments below.  Their actions will help prevent further loss and suffering and we want them to know how much we appreciate all that they do as mothers and advocates for vaccines.

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8 responses to “Honoring Our Advocate Mothers on Mother's Day”

  1. Amy Rae says:

    Well said. This Mother’s Day, I am most thankful for my healthy child.

  2. Christine,
    Thank you so very much for acknowledging those of us who will feel the shock and heartache of not having our children with us. I can certainly relate especially with the pain of Denise Palmer, she and Gary are such amazing people. Please continue reminding the world of the beautiful Angels in the Heavens above and the preventable disease’s that took them from us.
    God Bless.
    Jessica W. Holt
    The Joey Holt Foundation
    *Be Educated, Get Vaccinated*

  3. I am in prayer tonight for several of my little Angels who are very ill. Their moms at their side.
    Today as I thumbed through a little chest that held some precious mementoes of Mother’s Day past from my beautiful boy, Ryan, I was reminded that once again I will have to find my way through another Mother’s day filled with tears and unbearable lonliness. I will watch as my sisters and friends celebrate the day with their children and grand children. I will manage a smile that covers the pain in my heart.
    I will remember the sweetness of my baby with his blanket and pillow in hand, crawling into my lap and telling me to sing Elvis mommy, the smell of a dirty little sweaty boy as he gave me flowers picked from the yard, the voice of a young man telling me ” the Bear loves the moma” following with “can I. I will remember my beautiful healthy boy laying on a table as life drained from his body as I prayed for God to do what was best for him. The most unselfish prayer a mom could pray because I knew it meant Ryan would shortly leave me.
    I closed the little chest and walked outside to the garden we planted in Ryan’s memory. There in a little small patch growing were the little white mums he gave me the last Mother’s Day we had together. I smiled because you see they were almost dead when he gave them to me. He was so tight with his money. My sisters said that day, “He probably got them from a dumpster.” It did not matter. They were from him.
    As I bent down and picked one, used it to wipe the tears from my cheek, I was reminded that because of what we do as advocate moms, other moms will have children who will be protected from vaccine preventable diseases. Their children will continue to bloom and grow just like the little mums in Ryan’s garden. Even 12 years later a sign from Ryan he is forever with me. He just lives in Heaven Two years ago my own mom joined him due to HIB pneumonia, another vaccine preventable disease.
    Think of us all this Sunday and whisper a prayer for us. Though our hearts are broken we stand strong and fight for your children another day. Forgive us when we act a little crazy or we hide out for a few days or we cry over what others view as happy occasions. Forgive us if we seem to ramble own about our children. You see it is the way we remind ourselves why we tell our stories even though the pain is sometimes more than anyone can imagine and each time kills another piece of who we are.
    Thank you Christine for remembering us.
    Stay strong my sister moms together we will stop deadly vaccine preventable disease. Our children did not die or suffer in vain.

  4. amy pisani says:

    Every day I come to work knowing that this could be the day we save a life. The moms in the is story and the many others who I’ve met through PKids, Families Fighting Flu, Meningitis Angels, and National Meningitis Association inspire me every day to count my blessings and strive to accept not one death to a vaccine preventable disease as a matter of course. Every single child who can be protected should have that protection. Happy Mother’s Day.

  5. Danielle Romaguera says:

    Thank you so much for saying those beautiful words. That is exactly what I want other mothers to know. Take the steps needed to protect your child from these diseases. The harsh reality is that if you don’t you or another mother could always feel that loss on mother’s day. I am blessed to have all of my boys with me each and every day, but none of them could take the place of my little girl. It is not fun to visit the her tombstone on each mother’s day, her birthday, etc. That loss stays with you forever. I hope everyone had a wonderful day and to the other mother’s who have lost a child I know your pain will never go away, but I hope your day was filled with peace and many happy memories

  6. katie van tornhout says:

    thanks for the kind words. to all the other moms who have lost their children, its a pain no one should ever have to face. callie has been gone for 14 weeks and the days are still grey and we miss her so much. mothers day was hard, but i remember the memories we had made in the short 5 weeks she was here with us and i smile. happy mothers day to all of you and may the memories bring you smiles.

  7. Belinda Duvall says:

    Yesterday after the day’s events, I told my husband I didn’t expect to be so emotional. I found myself thinking back to a few months ago when I sat next to Luke’s hospital bed. The doctors told us to take it minute by minute then day by day. I am so thankful that he came home, but how close we came to losing him. This Mother’s Day I got to have all my children with me. My heart broke for the other mothers that have lost their children to these vaccine preventable diseases. No one should have to sit next to their child’s side and wonder if they could have done more.

  8. christinevara says:

    Thank you to each of our special Moms for taking the time to comment on this piece.
    In the face of tragedy, it is easy to bury ourselves in pain. However, each of these mothers has chosen to do what is right, not what is easy. Though it is certainly painful, these mothers share their personal stories, treasured memories and fragile emotions, in hopes that they will prevent the loss of another child to vaccine preventable diseases.
    As a mother myself, I want to thank you for giving so freely of yourself. Your message is a gift of vital importance for all mothers and we pray that your voice, and that of your “angels in heaven”, will be warmly received by mothers everywhere.

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