In his 1993 ESPYS speech, Jim Valvano spoke about the precious moments in life. He reminded us all to cherish the ones you have, because you never know how many you have left. Jim knew he had very few moments still to come because of his cancer.
And that’s what cancer does. It robs us of those precious moments — holidays, birthdays, family reunions and catching up with friends. Because of cancer, too many of us have lost those times in our lives with someone we care about.
Mother’s Day provides those precious moments for many families each year. It’s a chance to step back and thank the moms in our lives for all they do for us. Whether it’s a fancy meal, a homemade gift or maybe just a hug, Mother’s Day is a chance to celebrate Mom.
For the Zimmerman family, this Mother’s Day will be the first since Donna passed away from breast cancer in December 2021.
Donna was diagnosed in March 2020, near the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Due to a compromised immune system, she and her husband Michael spent most of the next year in isolation while she underwent treatment.
“It sounds funny, but it was the worst and best time of our lives. The cancer treatment’s side effects were awful and I’ve never felt so helpless. It broke my heart to watch her suffer,” said Michael. “But after raising three boys, it was the first time in 30 years that it was just us as a couple. We grew closer than ever and developed a much deeper love and appreciation for each other. I learned so much from her faith and courage.”
Donna was joyful and faithful, always wanting to be as much a part of her three sons’ (Michael Jr., Nelson and Tyler) lives as possible.
“She was one of the most social people I’ve ever known, going out of her way to always get to know someone in our lives,” said Nelson. “She taught us to love and see the good in others through her example, whether that was serving in our church community, volunteering every year to be a room parent in our classrooms or being the treasurer for our soccer teams. Whatever we were doing, she wanted to be a part of it and share in our passions.”
“Mom was the definition of selfless love,” said Tyler. “She always put her family and friends first and made everyone feel special. She was a woman of great faith and brought many people closer to God.”
“Mom was a passionate person. She poured her heart and soul into what mattered most in this world – her faith, her family and her community. She left the world a better place,” said Michael, Jr.
Donna shared her full heart and competitive spirit with her family. After speaking with a few friends, Michael, who enjoys cycling, was encouraged to register for the Victory Ride to Cure Cancer and ride in memory of Donna.
“I decided it would be a wonderful way to honor Donna and contribute to a worthy cause while doing something I love,” said Michael.
Michael will participate in the 60-mile ride and looks forward to riding alongside friends on May 21. Team Momma Zimm is among the fundraising leaders for this year’s ride as the family pushes for support in memory of Donna.
That is why we ride. That is why we fundraise. That is why we support cutting-edge cancer research. For the hope that one day, cancer will no longer take away our precious moments.