Support from Chilliwack was crucial.
Chilliwack mom Susi Vander Wyk was just named winner of Walmart Canada’s 2013 Mom of the Year over the weekend.
Her charity of choice, Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Canada, is set to receive the prize money of $100,000.
A mom of three, Susi Vander Wyk told The Progress she was “shocked and humbled” at first by the contest nomination last spring by her niece. She became one of 20 semi finalists vying for the honour, attracting vigorous online voting, and then in early August she found out she’d made the cut as one of eight finalists for Mom of the Year.
“I’m just so happy for the organization and just so thrilled at the potential of receiving $100,000 for charity,” she told Progress readers when she became a finalist over the summer.
The prize money will now go to helping SMA Canada families and the scientific side of things.
After a day of pampering and a gala dinner with live performances by Nikki Yanofsky and Chantal Kreviazuk at the Thompson Hotel, Vander Wyk was officially named Walmart Canada’s 2013 Mom of the Year on Saturday night.
“What it gives is hope to be able to fund more SMA research with that money, and offer support for the newly diagnosed,” she said earlier this year.
What the charity tries to offer is “a balm” for the shattered families.
“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. The get a friendship for life.”
Vander Wyk is a mother to three children Dexter, Holli and Amy. When Holli was only two, she was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2.
She started a support group for parents of children with all types of disabilities and later became president of SMA Canada.
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.