Cast Your Vote Now For Chicagoland's Mother of the Year ~ Jill Duggan

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Seems like everyone is looking for a vote these days.  Crooked politicians, D-list stars who can kind of cha, cha, cha, crooning aspiring idols.  So we text, log on, click, and call while wondering if our measly vote counts.

NBC 5 Chicago is running a Mother's Day Makeover contest.  On Friday they posted the six finalists.  Voting is currently open and you can cast a vote daily from now until April 30.

Jill Duggan is a finalist.  I do not know Jill personally, but I know the guy she married and the same guy responsible for writing this heart-felt essay to get his wife nominated.

Years ago I worked with Jill's husband.  At the time he was a freckle-faced teenager who had a deep laugh that sounded like it started in his belly.  I remember a kid who would turn beet red as he giggled so hard he literally shook while making pizzas in the kitchen at a family restaurant where I worked. 

Soon after I punched out of that place for the last time, John's future wife would begin work answering phones in the carry-out department.  At nineteen, they became parents for the first time.

Fast forward eight years, thanks to hard work and sacrafice, they would be college graduates and parents to three children.  At this time, their oldest boy was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  Following a two-year battle, Sean passed away at the age of ten.

As a mother, I cannot even begin to imagine the loss of a child.  How does a mother pick up and carry on following such a tragedy?  Jill found a way to not only deal with her own personal loss, but pay it forward. 

Five months after her own boy's life was cut short by cancer, she celebrated what would have been his eleventh birthday passing out over 800 toys to other children facing the same illness at a local hospital.  Even more remarkable is she found the strength to comfort other parents who were facing the same sad journey.

Jill's story is inspirational not only to mothers everywhere, but to anyone who has ever had a mother.  Her story is nothing short of incredible.  Her husband's essay completely heart-warming.

If you have a minute, please vote for Jill Duggan in the NBC Mother's Day Makeover Contest.  I would like nothing more than to see someone so deserving win a day of pampering. 

Life has a way of tossing us lemons...Jill Duggan has found a way to make a nice pitcher of lemonade.  Go on, VOTE.  Thanks!!

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