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Unstoppable: How One Mom Supported Her Two Sons After They Lost Legs in the Boston Marathon Bombing

Liz Norden has overcome a lot, but her greatest challenge came when two of her sons lost legs in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Screen grab from NBC report
Screen grab from NBC report
By Jason Claffey

Stoneham, Mass. – Liz Norden has never let things get in her way.

She raised five kids by herself, worked three jobs and overcame cervical cancer. But Norden's perseverance was tested again when two of her sons, J.P. and Paul, lost legs in the Boston Marathon bombing last year.

Norden was named the winner of the "Unstoppable Mom" contest organized by "LIVE with Kelly and Michael." She was awarded $100,000 and a trip Disney World for her family.

Norden's emotional support and work as caregiver to her sons as they rehabbed from injuries was documented in the program.

"I'm a mom and that's what mom's are supposed to do," Norden told NBC (video attached). "I love them more than life itself."

Below is Norden's nomination letter:

My mom is a super woman without a cape. She raised us 5 kids on her own, having to work 3 jobs just to make ends meet. In 25 years I can honestly say my mom never complains (unless one of the dogs make a mess!) When I was 17 years old my mom got diagnosed with cervical cancer, they scheduled surgery a week later for a radical hysterectomy.

Not giving us much time to prepare and I truly believed I was going to lose her. Scared to death she will tell me now but never letting us know at the time of. She would never want us to fear even if she feared for her life. Being the survivor that she is, and going to many treatments, she beat the cancer. Only proving once more how strong she really is. Now that us kids are old enough to be on our own my mom finally found time to do what she enjoys most: going to bingo and being a grandmother to my 5 year old niece Gabbie.

On April 15th, 2013 my two older brother's lost their right legs in the Boston Marathon bombing - a mother's true nightmare. My mother had to be in two places at once because both boys were in separate hospitals. J.p. was doing better in the beginning and Paul was in a coma for 8 days (everything that could go wrong did go wrong, we thought for sure he wasn't going to make it).  I don't believe she had a good night's sleep in the 2 months they were in the hospital then moved into rehab. My mom spent mothers day in Spaulding rehab, and her birthday worrying about JP's upcoming (very serious) surgery. J.P. lost below the knee so in order to save the knee joint had a lot of abrasives surgeries.

After rehab both boys 31 and 33 had to move home to relearn the simple things like walking all over again, this time with prosthetics. From cooking meals, to helping get in and out of the shower, to driving to the endless days of appointments my mother did it all and with a smile on her face. It was as though she had to start all over, like having small kids in the house again with needs you couldn't even imagine. Nine months later and she still hasn't had a good sleep, her worrying does not stop but in her words "it's just what a mother does."

My mom has never put herself before us and is the most selfless person you could ever be lucky enough to meet. My mom is my best friend, our family rock, and I don't think there is anyone more deserving than her! Please consider her to be your Mom so we can finally show her the recognition she deserves! Thanks!

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Rick Ricky March 15, 2014 at 01:12 PM
A Great Story...A real MOM will do anything for her kids. This is a mother that will never be forgotten.
Jackie March 15, 2014 at 04:53 PM
What an awesome Mom.......not just a Mother, but a MOM! Way to go!! And to her kids - I hope you live up to your mom's example!! I'm sure with a role model like her it will be a challenge, but I'm equally sure that as long as you try, she will be proud of you! This just goes to show that while being a single mother is a challenge, it can be done. And the fact that her children appreciate how well she took care of them and provided for them then and now, is something that I'm certain she is especially proud of! Awesome Mom and Thoughtful children. All my best to all in the family!
Marisol March 16, 2014 at 09:35 AM
B, that doesn't negate the fact that they were injured in the bombing. You sound like those racist people, who look for negative things to say when a minority person is wronged. Instead of seeing the crime, you look for negativity in the victims background
JJ Mclure March 16, 2014 at 10:28 AM
the whole thing could have been stopped it the politicians weren't so pc about everything

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