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Chilliwack mom makes it as Walmart finalist

A film crew arrives Wednesday to capture the update as contest finalist Susi Vanderwyk of Chilliwack makes it to the next round in the Walmart Mom of the Year competition. - submitted
A film crew arrives Wednesday to capture the update as contest finalist Susi Vanderwyk of Chilliwack makes it to the next round in the Walmart Mom of the Year competition.
— image credit: submitted

Chilliwack mom Susi Vanderwyk made the cut as one of eight finalists vying for the title of 2013 Walmart Mom of the Year.

"I was just speechless," she tells The Progress.

As a finalist she is awarded $10,000 and another $10,000 for her charity, Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Canada.

When she told her family the news, she cried, and her kids told her they knew she could do it.

"We've really got a lot of love in our lives!" she says.

Susi and Bruce Vanderwyk have three kids, Dexter, Holli and Amy. When Holli was two, she was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2. After a year of struggling blindly, Susi started up a support group for parents, and the rest is history.

A film crew will be arriving in Chilliwack Wednesday to capture the contest update for later uploading to the contest website.

"I'm going to try my hardest not to cry through the video," says Vanderwyk.

"I'm just so happy for the organization and just so thrilled at the potential of receiving $100,00 for our charity."

As well as organizing a summer camp for families, the Vanderwyks host events on their dairy farm, like Easter egg hunts, Christmas parties and campfires, for families with children living with SMA.

Walmart Canada officials notified the busy mom on Aug. 4 that she had made the finalist cut, and was now closer to winning the whole contest.

The winnings could really assist SMA families and the scientific side of things.

"What it gives is hope to be able to fund more research with that money, and offer support for the newly diagnosed. Because they feel lost at first. But what we do is show that someone out there has their back when times are tough, which they are from the start.

"They get one-on-one support from a parent that understands and a friendship that lasts a lifetime."

They won't know who wins until later this fall. The Chilliwack family will be flying to Toronto in early October for the Walmart Mom of the Year gala.

"We're on pins and needles," she says.

See more at www.momoftheyear.ca.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

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