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Title:  Heather Cimino, 40, of Fort Myers

Nominated by Amanda Turner, 32, of Fort Myers
Heather is an unbelievable mother of three boys under the age of 6. Just after the youngest, D'mitri, was born her husband, Nick, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She has put a smile on her face and managed such strength. She's a true super mom. She has managed more than a year of surgeries, recoveries, chemo, radiation and the terrible news in November that Nick's cancer was back and had spread. She still manages to sign the boys up for soccer or basketball and give them some sense of normalcy while building memories of their father they will never forget. I'm not sure she ever sleeps and yet manages. Dominic, Drecon and D'Mitri are three lucky boys to have a mother like Heather. She is AMAZING!
Title:  Rachel Faramo, 29, of Naples
Nominated by her husband, Jeff Faramo, 31, of Naples
This past year, she juggled being a mom of a 2-year-old, being pregnant, working full time, and aiding her younger sister through breast cancer. She is truly a woman who does it all and expects nothing. She manages a team of seven salespeople all over the country, and unfortunately, her job requires her to be on the road a majority of time. Even with this hectic schedule, she still perfectly balanced everything at home and at work. She was recognized as the No. 1 manager in her company and did it all while being pregnant. Her sister was diagnosed with cancer in February, and Rachel was at her side throughout the entire fight. Rachel is a genuine person who loves everyone and constantly contributes at home, at work and in the community.
Title:  Dena Whittamore, 41, of Fort Myers
Nominated by her daughter, Courtney Whittamore, 23, of Fort Myers
Most people clock in and out of their jobs. Not mom. In one day, she plays the role of nurse, driver, maid, receptionist, personal shopper, cook and teacher. Not only does she care for her two younger children, ages 7 and 9, she also fulfills the role of caregiver to me, her oldest daughter. In 2006, I was diagnosed with a very rare auto immune disorder for which there’s no cure. She takes me to all of my doctor’s appointments and sits with me during countless hours of treatment. She’s traveled with me to visit countless doctors in search of a cure. To add even more to her already full plate, she also visits her sick parents to make sure they have everything they need in order to live comfortably. While all of this is indeed impressive, it’s not what I find so remarkable about my mother. What makes her so rare is that while she is living this selfless life she never complains. She has never once made us feel guilty for how she provides for us. She is strong when we don’t know how to be. She holds this little family together with her pocket planner and to-do lists scribbled on the back of old junk mail. Even when she is away from us, we always know that her heart always remains with ours. Not only can I not think of a better mother, but I would be remiss if I could think of a better person.
Title:  Meg Whitaker, 30, of Fort Myers
Nominated by her mom, Melinda Rayder, 56, of Fort Myers
I would like to nominate my daughter, Meg Whitaker, for 2013 Mother of the Year. Meg had her first baby — a boy named Abram Ray — this past year. His early life presented her with some challenges but she approached this time with patience, fortitude and love. At the same time, Meg is a Hope Hospice social worker. She works part time at one of our local hospitals. In this position, she helps grieving families at this very difficult time. Meg is very involved in the community and likes to reach out to others. She started a local walking group and over 15 moms joined! They meet downtown once a week and share experiences and advice. She also takes her baby to sign language class and a Family Music Time group. Aside from all this, Meg finds the time to help her grandma who lives here in Fort Myers but has no transportation for shopping, errands and physician appointments. Meg always helps her with a smile and wonderful attitude and I know she has assisted some of the other seniors in Grandma's building also. Meg has such a sweet nature and does many things for friends and co-workers which she does just as a matter of her daily life. She is a selfless, caring person as well as a great mom and wife. It has been a tough year for her and she will always be Mom of the Year to this family!
Title:  Traci West Debusman, 35, of Alva
Nominated by Erica Spieth, 34, of Naples
Traci West Debusman is a mother of four and a step-mother of two more. So she has a total of six kids in her house at least 50 to 80 percent of the time. She is a stay-at-home mom who baby-sits for friends, and her husband is a fire marshal who works awkward long hours. She spends her time coupon clipping and helping others in her community. Last year, she spent countless hours trying to raise money for a friend and her family who were losing their daughter to a battle of neuroblastoma cancer. Even after they lost their little girl, Traci continued to fundraise, spread awareness and help find donations for funeral expenses (venue, food, etc.). This past year, she even went looking for a homeless man on the side of the street who she saw often when driving home, and she and her husband brought him hot coffee and a sleeping bag to stay warm on a cold Florida night. I nominate Traci for mother of year! These are just some things that this superwoman does on a daily basis and most of us will never know what she really does since she doesn't brag on herself! Please pick Traci West Debusman for this nomination!
Title:  Catherine Pakaluk, 36, of Ave Maria
Nominated by her sister, Mary Hardy, 22, of Ave Maria
Catherine truly deserves the mother of the year award. She is my oldest sister, and when she got married at 23 years of age, she became a step-mother to her husband's six children. Her husband's late wife died of breast cancer, and the six children required much physical and emotional care and attention. Today, her six step-children are all happy, flourishing adults and four of them are married or engaged. Catherine now has seven of her own beautiful children, ranging from age 12 years to 8 months. Her seven youngsters are the epitome of health and cuteness, and they all adore her. I found in Catherine a mother-like figure. She helped me through many rough years in high school and college. I have also seen her mentor other friends of mine and her own throughout the years. Catherine is a beautiful, selfless and generous person. Like a true mother, she never says no to someone in need, and is loved by everyone who knows her. Therefore, I nominate Catherine Ruth Pakaluk for the 2013 Mother of the Year Award.
Title:  Mindee Moore, 37, of Cape Coral
Nominated by Trina Hadley, 31, of Fort Myers
Mindee is the 2013 mother of the year for sure! When Mindee was 30, she was a loving wife to Shawn, also 30 at the time. She was giving birth to a set of amazingly cute twin boys. Blake and Camden came into this world to complete the Moore family. What she didn't know was at 15 months Blake would be diagnosed with autism. He is an amazing spirit and Mindee is devoted to making their family life as normal as can be. Even moving the family to Orlando from 2008-2010 in hopes to better Blake’s quality of life with early intervention. Then when the boys were 4, just three years ago, Mindee's husband suffered six strokes, the last one was hemorrhagic and he spent for months in the hospital. He has a 1 in 2 million brain disease called Moyamoya. He has had two major brain surgeries, so now she is also his sole caregiver. Never once during this did she stop continuing the care and progress of her children. When I told her I was nominating her for this contest, she said “I am not the mother of the year,” and laughed. She said, “I’m just a mother IN LOVE with her family.”
Title:  Lisa Martin, 48, of Fort Myers
Nominated by her daughter, Krystal Barber, 29, of Fort Myers
I nominate my mom Lisa Martin because I have seen her struggle while I was growing up and she never gave up. My mom has been beaten, disowned by her family and lived in a woman’s shelter and came out strong. She has always provided for her kids even if it meant she wasn't going to eat that night. My mother has shown me that no matter what you’re going through you keep on going because sooner or later you will overcome it. I look up to my mother because she has been through a lot in her life, but she always took care of her kids. She has taught me that everything happens for a reason. Now that she is doing great for herself she gives back to the community. She does random acts of kindness and charity work. She has helped other women get out of an abuse relationship because she helps out at the ACT shelter. When I was younger, I didn't like my mom, but now that I am older my mother is my best friend. I hope you pick my mom. Thanks.
Title:  Ashley Long, 39, of Fort Myers
Nominated by her husband, Kevin Long, 37, of Fort Myers
Ashley Long is more than just a mom of three (9-year-old boy, 7-year-old boy, 3-year-old girl), she is a wife, full-time judicial assistant, self-taught nutritionist/chef and full-time day care provider to a 3-year-old special needs daughter. Ashley’s daughter was born with only “half a heart” and despite already having three open heart surgeries, she will one day require a heart transplant. To help with the family income and most importantly, maintain health insurance, Ashley works full time but also must take her daughter with her every day who requires eight feedings/drinks a day through a stomach tube placed next to her belly button, medicine to be administered six times a day, and limited exposure to general population for health reasons.
At lunch twice a week and between numerous doctor visits some weeks, Ashley rushes out to get her daughter to an hour of speech therapy one day and to an hour of “school” on the other. Ashley spends countless hours a week reading medical journals, blogs, etc. to absorb as much information as possible to make educated guesses on the best ways to care for her daughter and the rest of the family for that matter. She spends almost the same amount of time writing her own blog/Facebook (http://kyleandtodd.blogspot.com) educating the world about her daughter and congenital heart defects.
Somehow through all this, Ashley still finds time to make it to most of her boys school functions, work out at night every day, as well as instill better eating habits for her entire family by preparing Paleo meals/snacks/treats!
Title:  Andrea Grady, 47, of Lehigh Acres
Nominated by her mom, Carolyn Basley, 72, of Fort Myers
My daughter is the single parent of an 11-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. Her daughter is a straight A-B student and her son excels in preschool also. My daughter retired from the United States Navy in October 2011 after serving 26 years. She also obtained an associate’s degree in human resource management and a bachelor’s degree in education in 2011 and 2012. Since retiring, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and as she battles this ordeal, she still continues to care for her children and participate in their school activities as much as she can. This is why I nominate my daughter for this award.
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