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

Parent concerned over privacy breach is a candidate for Chilliwack school board

Brian Mielke said sharing of student names with U.S. research firm shows trustees disregarding law

Chilliwack athletes run in the rain at first cross-country race

Dozens of elementary/middle/high schoolers tackled a mucky course next to Twin Rinks last Thursday.

Fraser River First Nations say they aren’t getting their share of sockeye

Shortage is a result of decisions made by DFO, not a shortage of sockeye, complaint says

Chilliwack Chiefs benefit from BCHL Showcase exposure

Carter Wilkie’s first BCHL goal Saturday against Wenatchee earned him talks with several NCAA scouts.

Surging Okanagan Sun stop slumping Valley Huskers

A blocked punt set the tone for the Sun in a BC Football Conference game at the Apple Bowl.

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

B.C. pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

Most Read