Writer / Michelle Kaufman
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
Her three sons Jacob, 24, Kaleb, 21, and Nicholas, 19, are the greatest joy and accomplishment in her life. In October, Myers will become a grandmother.
Myers’ son Nicholas has special needs and requires full-time care. He was born with a rare genetic disorder that doctors weren’t able to diagnose him with until Nicholas was 16.
“I’ve always had a strong passion for people with special needs or any type of disability,” Myers says. “I was very close to my mother, who I lost in 2009. She was very ill and became disabled from her illness when I was very young, she started getting sick when I was age four. I think I have a certain type of compassion and patience and understanding for people with special needs, just growing up with a mother who had special circumstances herself, having a child with special needs, it just kinda opened up my world to people with those needs and how I can be of any support to them.”
Myers worked in Nicholas’ classroom for six years at Northeast Elementary. For the last four years, she has done data entry for IN*SOURCE, an organization that provides families with training and service opportunities for children and young adults with disabilities. Nicholas further advanced Myers’ passion for special needs children, and that passion is something that she is happy and proud to have. Myers’ husband, David, has also been instrumental in their family and is very hands-on with caring for Nicholas.
Nicholas attends school a couple of days per week with a nurse and is involved in Best Buddies, a program that takes typical peers and pairs them with special needs students. The pairs then do activities inside and sometimes outside of school.
“Nicholas definitely has friends, and we try to keep him as involved as his health will allow us to because he has had some significant health declines in the past five years,” Myers says. “We have to kind of just do things in whatever he is able to handle at the time. I think sometimes when people come across someone that is in a wheelchair or that does not have language, communication abilities as far as verbal, I think they forget sometimes that they’re still people. They still love when you talk to them and interact with them. They have friends and still love you to notice them and to be a part of this world.”
Myers didn’t know that she was nominated by her mother-in-law for Mom of the Year until a friend tagged her in a post on Facebook.
“I know so many exceptional mothers, so it’s really an honor to know that my family, friends and others in the community viewed me worthy,” Myers says. “It was a surprise and I’m very honored and grateful.”
Myers loves being a supporter of her children and has seen them grow into “amazing human beings.”
“I love all three of my sons with all of my heart,” Myers says. “Having a child with special needs adds to already being a mom. It’s very much an extension of what you would normally perceive motherhood as. When you have someone that requires so much extra care, it really helps strengthen you and grow not just as a mom, but as a person. Nicholas has taught me a lot with everything that he has went through, and I think that’s definitely helped build me as a person and as a mom.”