In 2011, it was an honour and a privilege to have our wonderful emcee Vickie Chase and panel of celebrity judges including Christina Rowsell, Kelly Falardeau, Ellen Percival and Tamara Plant celebrating fabulous mothers from across Alberta.
As it takes a fabulous mother to know a fabulous mother, this year our judges hail from our Top 20 finalists of 2011. Please welcome our 2012 Fabulous Mother of the Year™ dream team...
Nancy McPhee – Airdrie
Nancy is a Mom to everyone from her biological son, three adopted children and two foster children to
all of her children’s friends from school and countless other homeless children. She supports the dreams
of all her children including getting her daughter to Disneyland through the Dream's Take Flight program
and helping her youngest autistic son start a charity called Stephen’s Back Packs to end homelessness.
Nancy has written a book, and in the last five years has touched over 12,000 children with Stephens
Back Packs giving goodie packages to “The Inn from the Cold”, Sundre/Airdrie Lioness Hampers, Airdrie
and Red Deer Food Banks, Pikani and Siksika First Nations Groups, McMann Youth. She has also donated
1500 pairs of shoes to needing families, sent emergency bags of clothing and water for "Hugs to Haiti,”
and worked with God's Littlest Angels to send emergency crates with tents, work gloves for men to help
pull people out and rebuild Haiti.
Janica Fisher – Calgary
While Janica suffers from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, she does more in one day
than most healthy people do in a week. Janica runs a non-profit company called HIP, which stands
for Humanity In Practice and is about "simply making a difference." HIP helps other non-profit
organizations with things they don't often have enough funding for, including such things as, the "Make
and Take" craft program and Bubble Gum Betty program at the Mary Dover house. HIP also runs the
program “Parties with a Purpose” supporting the YWCA, The Alex Community Health Bus, Further
Education Society, Calgary Humane Society, Louise Dean School, and Calgary Senior's Resource Society.
Between working full time hours and raising two children, Janica manages to keep it all organized. Her
children describe Janica as selfless, and she has taught them that having money means nothing if you're
not happy. She leads by example in inspiring her children to do things only if their heart is in it and if it’s
the right thing to do, not simply what they can make a profit from.
Quinn Page – Turner Valley
At the age of 15, Quinn was in a vehicular accident and became a paraplegic. Since then, she took her
situation in life and used it to become a role model to youth and adults becoming an active public
speaker, advocate, and passionate community-minded young leader for the past 14 years. Quinn is a
caring step-mom to two young boys who have faced adversity. She has specifically benefited their lives
by her role modeling of love and learning, creating an empowering and positive environment. Also a
new mom, she is devotedly in love with her very big, cute boy who has just turned 1, while overcoming
new challenges with car seats, strollers, and busy toddlerhood of her son - hard enough for anyone able
to run to keep up, and she is learning to do it all from her wheelchair. Most recently, Quinn performed
a riveting act in the most recent Vagina Monologues in Calgary about her experience as a woman
impacted by spinal cord injury.
Lee Horbachewski – Calgary
Lee is an entrepreneur and advocate with ongoing attention to work life balance, designed to maximize
time with her children. She has survived depression and suicide and kept on living to create a fabulous
life for herself, two young daughters and husband. Lee is not afraid to talk about issues most people
avoid. She provides a shining example to her daughters in her constant pursuit of “paying it forward,”
bringing the community hope and empowerment, and supporting countless local charities, children's
programs, community services and collegial events. Lee is a connector and champion, making incredible
use of social media to spread joy and hope through her blogs, ezines, Facebook and Twitter. When Lee’s
terminally ill friend said her dying wish was to have Michael Buble sing a song to her, Lee immediately
took action and in just 24 hours was able to make Sandra's dying wish come true. Lee is helping her
daughters through the grief of losing Sandra - embracing the beauty of dying, and the power of true
friendship. The purposeful way Lee lives her life, teaches her children that miracles do happen, to
believe in the power of love, and how an “ask” can change a life. Lee teaches her daughters and others
to be authentic and real, and to make a difference in the world.
Valmarie LaRocke – Okotoks
Val has a soft spot for kids, especially when it comes to kids who need help and good old fashioned
mothering. She had five girls of her own and has fostered 15 others, many with severe fetal alcohol
syndrome and mental disorders from years of abuse or neglect. At one point, Val had nine kids at home
at once and was about to take in another when her daughter questioned, “Mom, what are doing? You
can’t save them all.” And she replied, “No, but I can save them one at a time. And they’ll never be hurt
again.” Val never made the distinction between her biological kids and her foster kids, they were all just
hers. Working full-time to make ends meet, she would come to cook, clean, do homework and endless
other tasks to the point that her feet and ankles would swell and she couldn’t walk. Still, she would
never have it any other way. She continues to mother them and now their children, who she claims as
her own grandchildren. Val is currently raising money to build a park for children with disabilities.
Melissa Vroon – Calgary
Melissa is a mover and shaker in Calgary. She is a social media maven, blogger and the go-to resource
for moms in the city looking for great things to do with their children. After being frustrated with
scouring what seemed like an endless mish-mash of bits and pieces of information on family recreation
around the city, Melissa and her friend started the website www.familyfuncalgary.com to create a one
stop source of community events and activities for Calgary families. Combining work with parenting,
Melissa’s unfailing dedication to both proves that they are not mutually exclusive. As she roars through
the city with kids in tow to attend yet another special event that she can share with her children,
families around the city benefit from her first-hand experience. Whether a new mom or simply new to
the city, Melissa has successfully engaged a whole city of moms, helping them combat the inanities of
raising children through fun and humour.
Loretta Paglinawan - Airdrie
Loretta works two jobs to support her family and is a second “mom” to all of her children’s friends. She
is loving and caring to everyone, no matter whom they are and has an overwhelming desire to make
everyone around her twice as happy as herself. Loretta plays on a women’s soccer team as a player and
team manager. She is loyal to her children, work and soccer team, always being the one person anyone
can count on. Loretta has taught her children to do everything from their heart, not out of duty.
When her mother was diagnosed with bladder cancer two years ago, Loretta hated not being able
to do anything so she decided to start fundraising for the Walk for Woman's Cancer with the goal of
raising $10,000 for the cause. Adding to the millions of things she does every day, Loretta has been very
successful so far, even raising $1000 dollars the first day!
Katherine Lomax - Edmonton
Being a mother is everything to Katherine, but it did not come easy. She would become pregnant
and then miscarry. Or worse, delivering her first set of twins still-born. After her first child, now 11,
Katherine set up a nursery in her store to keep her close. Three years later and rounds of in vitro
fertilization, she became pregnant again with another set of twins, now 7. The twins were born at
twenty-six weeks and had severe health complications. Already a busy entrepreneur, Katherine set
up shop in the NICU for six months tending to her business while trying to keep her baby girls alive,
advocating and loving. Katherine’s business continues to thrive, and she has been named one of Avenue
Magazine’s Top 40 under 40, as well as Planner of Year (awarded by Meeting Professionals International,
Edmonton Chapter). Her company has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Stollery and
other causes and is a speaker at the NICU, speaking to both staff and parents about her story.