I want to first thank everyone for your nominations. Between the facebook posts and blog comments we had about 25 entries. To say it was tough to pick the 3 money winners and the two fitness prize winners is an understatement. There were a handful of submissions that I didn’t pick, but wish I could have. Click here to read all of the nomination. If you connect with one of the stories and would like to do something to help, please email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can get you in contact with the person. Maybe you can donate some food, toys, games, money, time, whatever you are able to do. This is the main reason I do this and make it public on my blog, to encourage others to get involved.
Before I share the winners I want to give a shout out specially to Benjamin and Paul, whom I didn’t select but touched me so much. They both spoke about how their wives have been transformed by my programs and how it has carried over to the family.
“I would like to nominate my 4 children’s mom, Suzanne.
Suzanne is a changed person both physically and mentally since she began using the Fit Moms for Life videos. It all started last July when she decided that she did not like the way she looked, how she felt and how much she weighed. She has tried diets and workouts many times but none of them worked for long. Her job had her go in for a yearly physical and she did not like the results.
Time for a change…
Suzanne purchased the videos, enlisted a friend to workout with her, and began the journey to being a fit mom for life. Not only did the videos help with the working out but the nutrition sections helped her eat better and more sensibly. She found that she was eating the right foods but often times too much of them. Since that day in July, she has worked out every other day. Now she cannot go without working out. She rides bike, goes for walks with the dog and is so much more active. I get tired trying to keep up with her.
What I see now…
I see a confident mother who is able to handle the difficulties of having a husband who works a lot and is not at home as much to help with the kids. I see a mom who is sexy as I have ever seen her. She has had to buy a lot of new clothes because the old ones are way too big. The best thing about this transformation is how it has affected the rest of the family. We are eating better and working on being more fit through working out on a regular basis.
Thanks Dustin for making Suzanne a Fit Mom for Life.”
“I would like to nominate my wife Beth John. Dustin, I want you to know how much you and your program means to her. Finding you has been a great blessing in her life and I thank you for all that you do for people.
Beth is certainly a super mom like so many of the people honored and nominated for these awards. She is a mother first and foremost to Aidan (4 years old) and Dylan (18 months old) a best friend and most cherished partner to her husband, a gracious peer to many as an Assistant Dean of Students at Edgewood College, a counselor and friend to the students at Edgewood, a big sister to her 5 siblings, a dutiful and supportive daughter to her parents and a community activist committed to social justice, all while completing her second year as a PHD candidate.
As you might imagine, every day is a bootcamp for Beth. Her drive to make each day count, whether its doing the chores around the house, taking care of our beautiful children, completing a project for class, advocating for students at work, representing a cause she believes in or simply working out, she gives it everything she has and works hard to find her “excellent self” in each interaction. She is an inspiration to me everyday and when the going gets tough, as it has for us and many in the community we serve, and when I find myself tired, discouraged or feeling hopeless, my wonderful partner in life, is strong enough, tough enough, caring enough in her gentle but firm way to pick me up and push us forward.
I am indebted to you and for your program. It has given her strength when she felt weak, a place of security in times of uncertainty, a place of solace when her world felt crowded, a place of inspiration in times of desperation, a place for renewal when she was tired, a place of possibilities when the impossible loomed large, a place of victory when defeat seemed to close, a place for accomplishment when failure felt imminent… and the list continues. She brings light to her world and I am blessed to share in its radiance. Thank you for playing a part in sustaining her bright spirit as I am sure you do for so many. There are many who are benefactors of the work you do for people like Beth John.”
$500 Winners I Chose
I want to first start with the 3 winners who will each get $500 cash. For the third consecutive year there was an entry that made my cry. This is generally a good sign that they will get picked 🙂 Here are the three I selected, with the first one being the one that made me cry.
If yours is selected please email me at email@example.com and provide a phone number and address (mail and email if you have it). Also please contact the winning person to let them know I will be contacting them.
1. Sharon, submitted by Brandi. Sharon lost her husband this year to cancer and she chronicled her journey. My heart goes out to her and her family.
“Hi Dustin! I am THRILLED to have the chance to nominate Sharon Fenneran as a deserving mom!! If I had to pick one word to describe her….I couldn’t…she is more than one word…she is an unstoppable force…I have never witnessed such strength from another human being as I have over the past year. Sharon married my great friend Patrick, who I met in college, and the three of us quickly became great friends while living in Atlanta at the same time. Sharon and Patrick eventually married and were soul mates in every sense of the phrase. In July of 2009, Patrick was diagnosed with leukemia…their story is chronicled here http://fenneran.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/family-community-church-rock-2/ in Sharon’s own words…which demonstrates her strength, resilience and humor. If you read any blog post over the holidays, I ask you all to read this one-she is one amazing woman…and is part of one incredible community. Patrick lost his fight on June 6, 2010….the day after I returned to Madison from visiting him. My time with Patrick, Sharon and their two amazing children was LIFE CHANGING…every obstacle, every challenge, every clinic visit was met with a sense of humor and a smile…there is something to be said for that when your husband is dying. How is this possible in the face of such adversity? It is Sharon’s SPIRIT…her ESSENCE…it is WHO SHE IS and what she taught me during those few short days I spent with them can barely be expressed in words, but I think of her every day because she influences the choices I make, the attitude I have and how I treat other people both when things are good and, more importantly, when they are not good. Before Patrick was diagnosed, they had both made the decision to change their lives for the better and start living healthfully. Sharon hired a personal trainer and Patrick was biking miles and miles every day and together they shed the pounds. Over the year Patrick was sick, Sharon had essentially NO time for herself. I know this because I lived it for 4 days…up at 6a, to bed past midnight….a terminally sick husband with daily clinic visits (an hour drive each way and typically 4-8 hrs at the clinic) and two children to take care of the minute she walked in the door. This is not written for pity-Sharon would hate that. It is written to give you an image of what her daily life was like as a caretaker of everyone else FOR A YEAR. Patrick was the sole income for their household and now Sharon raising two children (yes, with the help of a loving, supportive, incredible family), but nonetheless as a single parent and no income. Finances are tight, Sharon is facing going back to work…and never have I heard a complaint. I know she would love to get back to the gym, to have some time for herself and her health, because she wants to live a healthy lifestyle and set an example for her children. So I am nominating her for this award because of how she chooses to live each day, because she is an amazing mom and so that just a tiny piece of all the goodness she has given this world can come back to her. I know Patrick would want this for her…so she could continue to take care of herself…so I’m stepping up and nominating her Thank you for considering her-I know there are a lot of deserving moms out there!”
2. Kathleen, nominated by her friend Yvonn. I can’t imagine the stress she must be under with 8 kids, a very sick child whose medical dog is very sick, with a husband living in another state, and two mortgages. Pretty unbelievable.
“I would like to nominate my fellow stay-at-home-mom and friend, Kathleen. She is a mom of 8 children and irrepressibly optimistic, in spite of all the challenges she faces. She and her youngest children moved to Madison from Illinois about a year ago so that her seriously ill child could be close to Madison’s pediatric medical facilities. Recently, this child recently received the gift of a companion dog but now even the dog has been suffered a medical setback and faces an uncertain prognosis! Kathleen’s husband still works his job back in Illinois, making the trip to Madison when he can, and stays in their unsold house there, which has been on the market for sale for 13 months. But, despite the worries of two mortgages, sick children and medical ailments of her own, Kathleen always maintains a smile and an upbeat attitude. Although I don’t think her health would allow her to participate in a boot camp, I do know that her family could put the $500 to very good use. Kathleen is an inspiring person and truly deserves a special holiday surprise!”
3. Jamie, nominated by her friend Monica. The third one was the toughest for me to decide, but between all of the misfortunes she has endured and the timeliness of the conversation about feeling like a hermit and needing help, I picked this one.
“Dear Dustin –
I could hardly believe it when I opened your email and learned of your “Deserving Mom” giveaway tonight. I must nominate one of my great friends, Jamie.
The story is very long and almost unbelieving what my friend, a mother of 4, has been through. It starts when we were 19 (12 years ago) when Jamie got pregnant with a man who she had only known briefly. The story was pretty predictable of Jamie becoming a single mom, who not for a moment didn’t stand strong and give everything she had to her little boy.
A few months into being a new mom, a guy she had gone out with a few times prior to her pregnancy contacted her and asked her to go out. She is now married to him and they had three lovely girls, each about a year apart. They also made an adoption official of Jamie’s son ensuring a complete family.
All of this has come with some really hard times. When Jamie was pregnant with her fourth child – he mother was also diagnosed with brain cancer. I am not sure how to better say it than her mom was her rock. Jamie delivered her third daughter as her mother was declining in a different hospital and she was not completely aware that it was close to the end for her mom. She literally left the hospital after giving birth to go to the other hospital to make plans for her mom (now unresponsive) to Hospice. I was able to be with her family that week – absolutely heart breaking as Jamie carried her newborn around as she had to say good-bye to her mom. Her mother passed away one week from the day she gave birth and Jamie’s world has just not been the same.
Her tragedy doesn’t stop there – in the last four years she cared for and lost a grandfather, a daughter has been diagnosed with Q22 deletion, the family survived a house fire that was a total loss and she is currently helping her father care for her stepmother who at a young age as a very serious and rapid case of dementia.
Why your email is ironic, is that just last week I had a phone conversation with Jamie that she was pretty down – much of it being at a time she misses her mom the most. She shared with me they were selling their house to free up funds in hopes of her husband having to work less hours, her going back to school and being in town to be closer to the kids activities. She shared with me she cried when she saw the for sale sign in front of the house that day
The other part of the conversation is what I am hopeful you can help with. Jamie shared with me on the phone that she “needs help” because she has been feeling like she wants to be a hermit and not go out. She shared with me her weight is so bothersome to her she didn’t even want to eat in front of her daughter’s friends at school that past week.
If you were to meet Jamie today, you would see a beautiful smile with eyes that have nothing to give but love. I believe you would also see a mom who needs a little break. I believe, whatever gift you were to choose to grant her, would give her the break I believe she deserves.
I thank you for giving back to the community … I just took my two-year-old to buy gifts for a little girl who’s name we got off the community tree. I hope someday he understands the meaning of giving like you and I.
Wishing you a happy holiday season –Monica”
I am also very excited to be able to award two prizes of $250 worth of fitness services. The winners can use them for DVDs or Fit Fun Bootcamp if local. This could be even more powerful than just money, because if they become fit and healthy all the other parts of their lives will change.
1. Cindy Ritzert who was nominated by her husband Stuart. I am excited to help her get her health back on track!
“I would love to nominate my wife Cindy Ritzert as a deserving mom. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife and wonderful mother of our children.
Cindy had our son almost 22 months ago after three miscarriages! She has been trying to get back into fitness and training, but has not had the time nor any extra money. Bootcamp classes and changes in diet can often be expensive! I feel like part is my fault because I coach a high school sport and often times me getting home later, doesn’t allow her the opportunity to be more active.
Cindy always thinks of EVERYONE else other than herself first. It would be nice if you could win something like this to really get her new years started in the right direction! Not to mention force me to take on more responsibilities and allow her more freedom to persue her fitness aspirations.
She has made the comment she would like to take a fitness boatcamp, this money would provide the opporunity with no extra cost to our family, it could also be used towards her nutritinoal needs as well. I honestly cannot think of a more deserving mother. I hope she is considered for this award!
Stuart R. Ritzert”
2. Kari Hankin,s nomimated by her husband Tom and 12 year old daughter Nicole. I love the fact that she is actively trying to set up a health support program. I hope my DVDs or bootcamps will play a role in helping Kari.
“I would like to nominate my wife, Kari Hankins. She is always putting everyone else first before herself and her health is now showing it. She gets involved with the activities of our daughters to the point that she is ow a coach for a grade school basketball team in order to help more girls. She has been in the health care field over 20 years and when latex allergies stopped her from being a medical asst, she worked other positions in the hospital util she got her current position which is working with cancer patients and prostetics, stockings and clothing to make them feel better.
Currently Kari has been working with the local village center to try to set up a health support group. Besides all this, she manages to keep our family on track, do all the cooking and housework.
The problem with all this is she has not had time for herself, and her health has suffered. She has said that she would use the money to see a nutritionist and possibly buy supplies for the health group she is setting up and leading. I would also work on getting her to take the time to take fitness/health class with part of it.”