Susi Vander Wyk

Susi Vander Wyk

Chilliwack go-getter vying for Walmart Mom of the Year

Chilliwack mom Susi Vanderwyk is trying to help other families just like hers by winning the contest

Chilliwack mom Susi Vanderwyk remembers being in tears.

She was both shocked and humbled by the glowing nomination for the contest submitted by her niece Katrina Clow.

Vanderwyk is now one of 20 candidates in the Walmart Canada’s Mom of the Year contest vying for their charities, with online voting on until Aug.1.

“While my first instinct is to hide behind someone’s skirts,” she wrote on her Mom of the Year Facebook page headlined ‘Meet Fun Mom Extraordinaire Susi Vanderwyk’. “I desperately love that my nomination can bring substantial funds to Families of SMA Canada, a charity that so many families rely on as a lifeline, for not only hope of a cure, but desperately needed support today.”

She and husband Bruce have three kids: Dexter, Holli and Amy.

When Holli was just two she was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2, or SMA.

After a year of struggling blindly, Susi started a support group for parents called EPIC, for families dealing with a range of disabilities.

There were charity dinners and dances to raise funds, says her niece, and her aunt run a summer camp for the past 13 years, inviting families who have children with SMA from across the globe to join them.

If she makes it into the Top 8, it’s $10,000 for the charity, if she wins, it’s $100,000.

“But tell people, they’re not voting for me,” she said humbly. “It’s for SMA Canada.”

As well as organizing the camp, Susi and Bruce host events on their dairy farm, throughout the year. They have Easter egg hunts, Christmas parties and camp fires, for families with children who have SMA.

But that wasn’t quite enough.

A couple of years ago when the president of Families of SMA Canada stepped down, Susi stepped up again for her community, accepting the role as president of the nationwide charity.

The group is actually a “lifeline” for families of children with SMA, who often feel like their lives are shattered post-diagnosis, and suddenly alienated from everyone else.

“You can have compassion and understanding, but you just don’t get it the way other SMA parents get it.”

They send out a care package with lots of info to parents on how to handle the most confounding questions.

“The biggest thing that comes out of that package is the feeling that they’re not alone,” she said.

Some things she does only her family knows, says her daughter Holly.

It’s quite the list she enumerates. Don’t try to say it all in one breath!

“She has been our school PAC president for several years, tutored kids with learning challenges, donated anonymously to underprivileged families at Christmas with gifts on door steps, donated to teen mom programs, sat up for many nights with parents of children who were dying at Canuck Place, help my brother and I start a charity, has taught us kids the meaning of compassion and giving for raising Christmas gifts for underprivileged teens, gives food to families in need, donated to independent living teens, sent equipment and supplies to third world countries, gives food to the homeless, and sponsored children.

“However with all of this said, her main focus is helping families affected by Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

“Her greatest wish is not to be recognized herself, but to win $100,000.00 for Families of SMA Canada would be a wonderful gift to so many families by helping to support them and pay for research to find a cure.”

Check out her page and put her into the Top 8 by voting at http://www.momoftheyear.ca/mom/?mom_id=41883

jfeinberg@theprogress.comTwitter.com/chwkjourno

Just Posted

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema, a member of the Canadian national women’s soccer squad.
Another scoreless draw for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canadian national women’s soccer squad

Canada played Brazil to a 0-0 tie days after doing the same in a friendly against the Czech Republic

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Chilliwack firefighters watch as an O’Connor Towing operator removes a stolen Volkswagen station wagon from the Fraser River off Cannor Road in west Chilliwack on June 13, 2021. (William Snow photo)
PHOTOS: Stolen vehicle dumped in Fraser River in Chilliwack Sunday

Search and Rescue determined there was no one inside the car found upside down off Cannor Road

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read