One of the perks of my job is that I get to meet some incredible people. Recently, I had the opportunity to tell the stories of two awe-inspiring moms.
They are regular people. They're not the celebrities you read about in the magazines in the grocery store line. They are the people you meet next to you in that line. The people who you never know the heroic measures they take each and every day just to get by. Just to make sure their children have fulfilling lives.
Truth be told, I've known both of them for years. Diane was once a producer at WRAL. I met Janet years ago when she approached me about doing a story about moms who spend their days at Duke Children's Hospital fighting for their children. Janet never told me she was one of those moms. I had to pull that out of her. She's not one to seek attention for herself, but rather for others.
Diane is an published writer and public speaker. She's accomplished a lot in her own right. She's also a mom to two adorable boys, Kenny and Theo, who have autism.
Diane has always advocated for her sons and then, about a year ago, she decided she needed to ratchet it up a notch. She quit her job and got to work.
She is spearheading the effort for the first of its kind charter school. The Dynamic Community Charter School is a project-based middle and high school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Diane met other parents, formed a board and plunged headfirst into the somewhat intimidating world of education, grant writing, fundraising and so on.
The school is one of 14 new charters to be approved and is set to open in August.
More than two decades ago, Janet was pregnant with her second son, William. Doctors told her to terminate the pregnancy, that William wouldn't survive.
Janet though had faith and gave birth to a sweet little boy with a rare condition. So rare in fact, only 15 people in the country have been diagnosed with it; seven have died. As for William, Janet has been by his side for 21 years, pushing him, setting goals and surrounding him with the resources he needs and the support he deserves. He's a senior this year at Garner High School and is on track to graduate in June.
I've been thinking a lot about these two women. I know there are nights they fall into bed physically and emotionally spent. Yet, each morning, they get up and fight another day. They don't have a choice. They do it for their sons.
I've wondered if I would have the wherewithal to face the challenges they've tackled. I'd like to think so. Still, I am humbled to know them and so glad I could tell their stories. These moms, and other parents like them, are the true heroes in our community.
Julia is a reporter for WRAL-TV and the mother of one. She writes monthly for Go Ask Mom.