It began with a loud pounding at her door at 6 a.m. on the Friday before Mother’s Day, 2005.
“I was in my pajamas, and I had my baby with me,” said Cindy VanderKodde. “I plopped her down and opened the door. It was like wow, wow!”
Staring Cindy down was a large television camera. The crew from the nationally syndicated show “Live with Regis and Kelly” shouted that she had won their Mother’s Day Dream award. She would receive $5,000 and a wheelchair-lift van worth $57,000. The show, aired Mother’s Day, was chosen by viewers as one of the top shows of the year.
Cindy and her husband, Dan, are raising a “second family”—they have five adult children and have adopted five children ages 8, 7, 6, 3, and 2. They belong to Sunshine Community Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Eight-year-old Alexandria VanderKodde has cerebral palsy. The VanderKodde’s 31-year-old daughter nominated her mother to receive a new van to replace an aging and unwieldy 1987 conversion van.
At Christmas, Cindy was to finally receive her van. She had saved money for taxes and insurance but found she had not saved enough. She prayed for a miracle, not really expecting one.
A local pharmacy owner overheard Cindy sharing her story. She approached Cindy with a $500 check and later gave the VanderKodde children $600 in Christmas gift cards.
“Why would she do that?” Cindy asks, but she believes God was behind it. “Everything I’ve done in my life has been him before me, telling me where I need to go.”