Recipient

Paula S.

New York, United States

My Mother, A Heroic Voice for Silent Angels

My mother is the strongest person I know-but like all true heroes, her strength is supported upon a foundation of kindness and commitment to humanity.
One of my younger siblings has a debilitating neurological disorder called Rett Syndrome. So little was known about the disease that until I was twelve years old, the myriad of physicians that my family consulted would invariably attribute her affliction to the chicken pox that I had passed on to my mother during her pregnancy. Multiple doctors at prestigious centers told my mother to put Gabriela into a group home, since she would never be normal. In 1999, the genetic cause was discovered. The outlook was bleak, and little was known about the disease, but at least we had an answer.
My mother never faltered in her commitment to our family. She made sure that Gabriela was treated as an equal, despite being non-verbal, needing extensive additional educational resources, and functioning at the level of a 2-3 year old despite her current age of 26. She requires full time care. Despite this, my mother worked a full time job, built my father's business, and was the best mother I can imagine. No need was unmet, no event unattended- my siblings and I were raised with unmatched love and care.
Despite her responsibilities, she has maintained an unbelievable commitment to philanthropy. I have seen her fundraise, plan events, and promote philanthropy, not just for Rett but for various causes that affect her friends and the local and national community.
The stress of life ultimately led to my parents divorce She continues to be a supermom despite the financial and psychological stressors of being a single mother, and continues to care for my sister full time. My other siblings and I are constantly inspired, and despite being adults, lean on her for strength.
As a former athlete who hasn't taken time to herself, I think my mother could benefit from the empowering, supportive fitness community that Peloton has become known for.

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