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Brenda Willette

Brenda is a mother of five and served as the primary caregiver for her son Marvin until he went to college. When Marvin was 7, he was injured. The injury was so significant that he was put into the ICU and Brenda was told that her son might never speak again. However, Brenda refused to accept this fate, and told Marvin that if he could hear her to blink once. When Marvin was ready to leave the hospital three months later, his doctors suggested placing Marvin into a nursing home. Brenda responded that she would never leave her son and would care for him at home.

At age 11, Marvin was accepted into the Chicago Shriners Hospital, which is considered one of the best spinal cord injury hospitals. His mother stayed with him three days, and then had to fly back to Nashville to be with her other children. Marvin was upset by this, but Brenda made it a learning opportunity, telling Marvin that one day he would understand why she was doing this. Marvin credits the Shriners Hospital for teaching him life lessons he still uses today.

Marvin reveres his mother so highly that he nominated her as a Mother of the Year. Brenda’s “infectious spirit and personality” are most evident when she meets new people–she has never met a stranger and goes out of her way to say hi. Brenda is a fierce and loving mother, caring for Marvin every time he has medical needs. Marvin even describes his mother as “my biggest fan, telling me that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to”.

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