Pam Cardoso was a force of nature. Her son, Sammy, was blind and non-verbal with many serious health problems, leading Pam to become involved as a remarkable advocate for children with special health care needs. While still in her 20’s, she served as president of The Arc of Davidson County, co-chaired a parents’ advisory committee for Nashville’s public schools and served on the Tennessee Medicaid Medical Care Advisory Committee. She helped establish a network of moms to support each other in advocating for their children with special needs. At a crucial moment in 1993, she and two other mothers met with then-Governor Ned McWherter to urge him to expand Medicaid to working families. He was so moved by her passion and eloquence that he invited Pam and Sammy to stand with him in the well of the state House of Representatives as he asked the legislature to approve the creation of the TennCare program. Within a few months, Pam was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, but she lived long enough to see the program established, and it would eventually provide lifegiving care to hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans. Governor McWherter called her in the hospital as she was near death to thank her for the impact she had had on his life and on the lives of so many others. Only 31 at the time of her death, Pam embodied the love and dedication that we honor on Mother’s Day.