My mother was diagnosed with dementia this year at age 70. It is a devastating diagnosis at any age, but she still manages to put the needs of others first. She would give a complete stranger the shirt off her back. Where others see the color of humanity, she sees a rainbow.
Also, this year, she flew from NY to be by my side when I battled cancer as a single mom. She did my laundry, fixed meals, cared for my 7-year-old daughter and nursed me back to health. I will never forget the words she whispered in my ear as they wheeled me off to surgery. “There is no place I’d rather be than here with you,” she said. She put herself — and her recent diagnosis — aside and was my shoulder to cry on, my strength when I didn’t have any, and a wellspring of positive thoughts and prayer. My mother is my Hero of Optimism.