After several submissions of amazing moms to our Sweet Mother Contest, one Orchard Park mom’s story touched our hearts most of all. She was chosen by Christine Conte of Vogue Salon & Back Bar for an ultimate day of pampering. Sherri DiChiara, loving mom of Dominic and Joey, was nominated by family friend, Michael Stebick, who shared her story beautifully.
“I am writing on behalf of 17-year-old Dominic DiChiara, since he is unable to do it himself. He is a boy who was born completely paralyzed as a result of a tragic situation that arose during his birth. He is unable to walk, talk, eat, move or perform any normal functions of life on his own. He lives his life in a wheelchair, in bed, or in his mother’s arms.
His mother, Sherri, is his caregiver, and has devoted her entire life to taking care of him. He was not supposed to live to be 4 years old, yet through the loving care of his mother, he has now reached his teens. Sherri has enrolled him in special schools, and he goes every day on the bus the same as any other child his age would do. She is bound and determined to make sure that Dom is mainstreamed into life as much as possible, in spite of the extreme difficulties he faces.
Due to his situation, she must always be ready to leave on a moment’s notice to go to the school to pick him up in her specially custom built wheelchair accessible van. She talks to him in the same manner as you would deal with any other child. She feeds him through a feeding tube numerous times every day, including one feeding when she has to get up in the middle of the night, every night. She sits by him in the hospital whenever he has to be hospitalized, which is much more frequent than anyone else could handle.
There is nothing in life which gives Sherri more pleasure than when Dom smiles at her, which is frequent, and nothing more heartbraking to her than when he cries and she is unable to comfort him in a way he needs that she can’t understand because of his inability to communicate.
In addition to Dom, Sherri is the mother to 13-year old-Joey. He is a normal, healthy, energetic boy who adores his mother and his brother. Sherri has enrolled him in the local Boy Scout troop, and does everything in her power to make sure he participates in every function of the group. As hard as it is for her to do, she makes sure he goes on weekend camping trips with his friends and the troop leaders. She knows that she must allow him to spread his own wings and fly without being under her wings all the time.
Dom’s father abandoned the family after Joey was born, apparently unable to handle the stress of having such a severely handicapped child. Several years later, she reconnected with her high school sweetheart and they married, but regrettably, he also walked away a short time later and again she was left on her own to raise the boys.
Having been a single parent myself due to the passing of my wife at an early age, I have the utmost admiration, love and respect for Sherri. She is the strongest woman I have ever known. She has undertaken an obligation to her children that goes so far beyond anything I would have ever been able to do. She could have placed him in a home and continued her somewhat normal life, visiting him on occasion, but she chose to raise him herself and in effect give up most of her own life in order to keep him alive as long as she has. Without the love and care she has given him, Dom would have passed away many years ago.”
We hope you enjoy your day of pampering, Sherri. You definitely deserve it. ❤