With dozens of heartbursting and truly inspiring submissions showcasing incredible mothers of Western New York, it was one that stood out for the Hope Rises team.
With the help of Anna Elizabeth Esthetics, Hope Rises is thrilled to announce: Christine Porto as the winning mom in our “Mother Like No Other” Mother’s Day contest!
Christine and her guest will enjoy Signature Botanical facials by Anna Elizabeth Esthetics, a gift card for lunch to a Buffalo favorite – Chef’s Restaurant, and as a surprise bonus, anaroma touch treatment by Sarah Kalobius!
Read more from her daughter, Cara, who nominated her mama.
When I think about my mom, I think about a woman who continually sacrifices for my dad and me on a daily basis. She is the type of person who constantly thinks only about others and rarely puts herself first. I often think of her as the glue that holds our crazy family together, even in the most difficult of times. No matter what happens in my life, I know my mom will always be there.
I remember my mom choosing to work overnights during my childhood, so I could always have someone home while I was at school. For 18 years she slept as little as 4 hours a night, so I wouldn’t have to spend time at daycare. It was only when I graduated high school that she switched to days to have somewhat of a normal schedule again. Even with working these crazy hours, my mom continued to be a part of my education.
When I was in elementary school, she and my father ran the scholastic book fair. Every year she would go out of her way to create an atmosphere that fostered the love of reading in my classmates. I remember many different decorations and boxes scattered throughout the house for when they would prepare. And for those three days, everything would be hectic. But for my mom it was a rewarding experience to bring to my school. She made reading fun, even for adults.
After that she volunteered to be on the board of education within our town for about six years. She spent numerous hours working for students behind the scenes, making sure that the school district was able to give every child a chance to succeed. By the time I became a senior in high school, she decided not to run for another term. She instead wanted to help me apply to college, and she gave up her free time to help me figure out the rest of my life. It was because of her that I was accepted to a nationally ranked architecture school and she is one of the major reasons I continued giving it my all— even when all I wanted to do was give up. As a result, I will be graduating from my five year program within a couple of weeks with her cheering loudly for me in the stands.
My mother also loves to volunteer and I often find her constantly involved in something interesting, which leads me and her into different adventures together. For example, my mom has been involved with local animal shelters since I was young. At first, we just were “dog-walkers” who would spend our Saturday mornings with the animals. It was one of my first volunteer experiences and being able to do it with my mom made it even better. Our dog walking led to the adoption of one of our own dogs—Oliver who we had during most of my childhood. However, my mom’s love for helping animals did not end with Oliver’s passing years later.
Around the time I was a sophomore in high school, my mom had adopted Sebastian, a dog who spent 2 out of his 5 years in a shelter. Because of Sebastian’s calmness, the shelter asked my mom if she could foster two little puppies for a few weeks. It almost didn’t happen, but those two little dogs sparked a love for fostering within her and created a home for ten different dogs (including 10, one week old puppies in a kiddie pool and the mother dog). With all the eclectic animals that were coming through our home, none of the crazy phased my mom at all. She continued to do whatever it took for the animals that needed her.
She would always say, “Who would take them in if it wasn’t for us?” And her dedication led to only one “foster failure”—our current dog Jane, who ended up making her home with us after Sebastian passed away. She is too humble to admit it, but because of her numerous dog’s lives were saved because she took a chance with the “hard luck cases”.
She is also notorious for helping animals wherever she goes, no matter the situation. One of her favorite stories is when she happened to come across a Canadian goose laying in the middle of the road. It must have gotten hit while trying to cross the busy intersection, and within seconds of seeing it my mom had stopped right next to it. She somehow managed to load this goose into her truck without an issue and drove it to the SPCA. She likes to joke that the goose didn’t struggle in the trunk, but instead constantly peaked at her in the rear view mirror. It still astounds me that she stopped in the middle of traffic when no one else would, and that she managed to get this goose into her car with little assistance from another driver. But to her it was another Tuesday, and it was just another animal that needed her help.
More recently, she has started to work with our local church collecting food for the food pantry, collecting Christmas gifts for families within our town and many other random volunteer opportunities within the church. Since she loves to garden, she also volunteered to work on the landscaping team since it would give her another chance to help out (and enjoy another one of her passions, being out in the sun).
I’ve watched her over the years give to countless charities not for the glamour, but because she genuinely loves to give back. Her true selflessness shows throughout her volunteer work, and I know she has changed many different lives because of it. However, there was a time that my father and I weren’t sure how long we would have left with my mom. During my sophomore year of college, my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. While I considered transferring home, she told me no. She wanted me to finish out school, even if that meant I would be away from home. For the next year she continued to receive treatment while working as a laboratory technologist at Roswell Park. When I would ask her why she didn’t take some time off, she would tell me, “There are patients who are sick, I can’t take time off.” Even while she too was battling cancer, my mom never thought of herself. Someone else needed her, and it amazed me that even during all of that she only ever worried about others.
It has been three years since then and to this day my mom has beaten all odds to be in great health. While her cancer will never be in remission, she continues to work at Roswell and just recently joined a patient panel where she works with other employees of the hospital who are dedicated to patient experience. If you meet her, you would never believe that this strong, dedicated and hard working woman was also a patient. To my mom, it is not about what you have in life, but who you help along the way. She always says, “There is no price for being kind to others.” For all the sacrifices my mom has made over the years, she continually wants to help anyone she meets. She takes everything thrown at her in stride and never stops to take a moment for herself.
For all she does, I think she is deserving of this pampering treatment. For once, I want her to be able to relax and not have to worry about anything but enjoying herself. I love my mom, and I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without her guiding light in my life.
Even through everything life has thrown at her, she will continue to be the warrior I am proud to call MY MOM.