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Pennsylvania Mother of the Year speaks of loss and hope at the National Convention

May 30, 2024

Headshot of Natalie Wallace Pennsylvania Mother of the Year

We see, We care, We serve.

My name is Natalie Wallace and I am the Pennsylvania Mother of the Year. If I were home, I would have done three loads of laundry by now, made three gluten-free meals and said, “please pick that up” at least a hundred times! I am missing my kids terribly but I am taking this time to meet some incredible ladies.

As mothers, we see all the wonderful miracles around us, especially in our children. Life does not always go as we planned but we don’t give up. It’s up to us to embrace and hold tight those we love and cherish. We, as mothers, need to love, protect and guide our children to become great people. When I think of my precious daughters and my son, who has special needs, each one of them are special in their own way. We all have needs that need to be met. Life is full of choices and I choose to get up and make a difference. I choose happiness, despite loss. Everyone has a story and a cross to carry, however it’s how you carry your cross that makes who you are.

There once was a beautiful boy with the sweetest smile and courageous spirit. He was full of joy and had to overcome many obstacles. He became paralyzed and blind at the age of two and he fought to walk again through physical therapy, occupational therapy, orientation and mobility. He walked in a little pediatric walker and did it with a smile. His vision started to come back, which was a miracle. He had a rare blood disease and passed away at the age of four. His name is Zachary and he is my son. We started a Fund in Zachary’s memory and we named it the Zachary Wallace Fund. We help children with special needs in honor of Zach. His Fund has helped hundreds of families over the years, as well as created two-all (act) accessible playgrounds for ALL children to enjoy, grow and learn.

So, if you really care you must serve- they go hand-in-hand. I see a child with special needs, I care. Therefore, I do. When I see a mother who has a child with special needs there is an instant connection. My heart stirs and I want to take action. To help. To serve.

Being a mother is a miracle I feel blessed to be surrounded by a roomful of women who are making a difference in this world. Being a mom is a gift. Not something to ever take for granted. We all know how fast time goes, so I chose to live in the precious moments today. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be with all of you. I thank our founding American Mothers for starting an organization that is making a difference in our challenging world today.