I want to ask you a question. Have you heard of Nancy Brinker or Candy Lightner? Nancy Brinker’s sister died of breast cancer in 1980 and Nancy established a foundation for breast cancer research that to date has contributed $26 billion to the cause. Her foundation, a name you are familiar with, the Susan G Komen Foundation, established the pink ribbon as a national symbol for the cause. Nancy Brinker, an ordinary woman, doing extraordinary things!
Candy Lightner is a mom whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver as she walked the streets in her neighborhood. Candy started M.A.D.D., an organization that has changed the way we think about impaired driving. Because of Candy’s work, the term “designated driver” has become a household word. An ordinary woman, doing extraordinary things!
Many ordinary women WHO do extraordinary things are sitting in this room. You may be like my daughter, Melissa, a mom of 4 little girls under the age of 8, who can supervise homework, cook a meal and hold a toddler on her hip at the same time! Many of you work full time outside the home and then come home to a full time job with a family. Extraordinary!
Some of you have survived extraordinary situations: death of a child or loved one, divorce, loss of a job, strained relationship, sickness, deployment of a child to war. In 2006, my son, Jonathan, served 2 tours of Iraq as a Marine infantry officer, clearing houses between Fallujah and Ramadi and patrolling the Syrian border. Praying for him and supporting him was a monumental effort for our family. Some of you have endured sickness. In 2010, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. I fought through four months of chemo and 3 surgeries to become cancer free today. I lost all my hair, and I mean ALL of my hair, except my eye lashes! After chemo, my brain fog began to disappear, my hair began to grow and my eyelashes fell out! God has a sense of humor!
I would not change the experiences that I have been through in life because each step of the way my faith has made me stronger and given me hope to believe that ordinary women can do extraordinary things! Keep on believing! Never give up!
Susan McConnell is the 2017 Alabama Mother of the Year.