"If you’re reading this, you’re getting a glimpse of the amazing Carol Sanders!"
When I think of warrior Wednesday and those who exemplify the term warrior my mother immediately comes to mind. She is not only a warrior in her own right, but she is everything that I strive to be.
Growing up with 5 boys is never an easy task. Mom was there for the challenge. She not only took care of 5 riley boys, but she was also a mother to countless neighborhood children as their parents worked. It didn’t matter who you were or your background, there was always an open chair at our table and a spot in her heart. She WAS the neighborhood mom. Growing up we all had our problems but knew we could count on her wisdom. Day or night, she was our rock. There were many times we would sit at the table at 2am discussing life, both good and bad, goals, aspirations, and religion. She knew our secrets because we knew her unconditional love could overcome any obstacle.
Recently one of our good friends was struggling with the passing of his brother and with no place to go he knocked on the door at 2:00am and without any malice or anger the door opened and the open chair at the table was filled one more time. If you’re reading this, you’re getting a glimpse of the amazing Carol Sanders! But this is only half of the story. She knew about HypoPARAthyroidism from my father, but she had no way of knowing that all of her 5 children would be diagnosed. Some at very young ages to almost adulthood. At the age of 8 my older brother had a grand mal seizure in the basement of his friend’s house while playing video games and my youngest brother was born with severe hearing loss, suffered seizures as an infant before his diagnosis. They figured the rest of us would undergo regular screening. News spread of our unique family and we were accepted into a clinical trial at the NIH with Dr. Winer.
Dad met some amazing people throughout the years and brought them into our lives. No matter the age, mom never complained. Her heart always had room for one more person. This helped spawn the idea of starting an organization so that those struggling with HypoPARAthyroidism could have a place to go so they would not feel alone. She pushed Dad along with Julie Hunsaker to write a newsletter full of stories, support, upcoming trials, and studies. Eventually HPA was formed and our family began to grow again.
Many of you had the opportunity to meet my mother throughout the years and felt her love. She has always been an advocate for better treatment options, legislation, and education in the medical community, and always willing to listen to others struggles. She would help field the calls in the middle of the night while my father was working, talking and teaching doctors around the country on how to treat HypoPARA patients in their care. She flew around the world speaking at various conferences and organizations in hopes for a better tomorrow. Carol is not only my mother, she’s my warrior, best friend, and my inspiration. Someday I hope I will be able to fill her shoes and maybe be half the person she was to me. Although those shoes can never be filled, I will continue to try as I love and serve my family and this amazing community.