A community organization in Loveland, Colorado, is looking to make Mother’s Day extra special for moms who are taking care of terminally ill children.
“Celebrating Supermoms” is blessing 175 moms with gift bags that include a book, toothpaste, a toothbrush, a cozy blanket, nail polish, and gift cards.
These women spend weeks and months at a time in hospitals watching over their sick children.
It is a struggle Sarah Portillo knows all too well.
She started the group after her five-year-old fell sick and needed surgery on Mother’s Day weekend. She sympathizes with moms who often struggle with caring for themselves and their children.
“They’re often miles and miles away from family and other children,” Portillo said. “They have nobody. Walk down a hospital hall and see the moms with their kids, the majority of the time, they’re not rested, not bathed, haven’t eaten. What they and their child are going through is overwhelming.”
Portillo teamed up with her friend Rachele Chrismer, who was passing out gift bags in her son’s honor, who died on Mother’s Day.
Portillo decided then that she would use the idea and celebrate moms, though she credits Chrismer as the inspiration for the movement.
“Celebrating Supermoms” runs an annual donation that allows the group to hand out bags at different hospitals.
Anna Pakis received a bag two years in a row.
She told ABC News that she “spent more time in the hospital than not.” Her five-year-old daughter, Caroline, had hollow visceral myopathy, a digestive disorder, and passed away last July.
“Every child’s illness is different,” Pakiz said, “but I feel like I can relate to their position. I do know what it is like to be in hospital day after day, away from other kids. You don’t always feel like the best mom.”
This year, she will be handing out supermom bags at Rocky Mountain Children’s Hospital.
Pakiz said she hopes the idea will spread to hospitals around the country.