2006 Mother of the Year

Daughter nominates her mom for being there when it counts

By BILL MILLIGAN

Even cervical cancer couldn’t keep the Call’s 2006 Mother of the Year from being there for her ailing child.

Sheri Sampson of Fenton was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2000, the year her youngest daughter, Emily, was born. Treatment consisted of “a couple of surgeries,” she recalled.

“The last surgery I went through was a hysterectomy and the day they pulled me out of recovery and into my room, Jordan was throwing up and had a 103-degree fever,” she said. “I told them I had to be home with my child. I can recover just as well laying in my bed at home. I could be laying next to my child. I went home.”

That night Sampson’s husband, Steve, took them both to the emergency room at St. Joseph Hospital in Kirkwood.

“Steve was carrying Jordan. I was walking, holding my stomach,” Sheri said. “We were there for three hours. She had pneumonia.”

The pair went through recovery together at home. Sheri’s recovery was made more difficult because she has von Willebrand disease, a form of hemophilia.

“Instead of staying in the hospital for recovery, my mom left to come home to take care of me,” said Jordan, 7, who nominated her mom as the Call’s Mother of the Year.

“She is always thinking more for others and not ever thinking or doing anything for herself,” Jordan said.

After the hysterectomy, doctors wanted Sheri to stay with them for observation for four days. Doctors found the bleeding disorder during a screening before removing Sheri’s tonsils at age 25. Her blood wasn’t clotting properly. Ten days after her tonsillectomy, she began hemorrhaging.

“After that, I learned more about the disease,” Sheri said.

A 1985 graduate of Lafayette High School, Sampson graduated from Sanford Brown with an accounting degree and worked 12 years in banking.

When Jordan was born, the Sampsons could sense there was something wrong with their daughter, and her condition convinced Sheri to become a stay-at-home mother.

“Our pediatrician just referred to me as a worried mother,” Sheri said. “They said I was a new mother, nothing was wrong. She had ‘reflux’ problems. I said babies with reflux don’t turn blue. The next weekend we were in the emergency room.”

Her husband echoed her concern.

“They still said she had reflux and they wanted to watch her that weekend,” Steve said. “You’d raise her arm, it would just fall down.”

Sheri’s mother, Barb Daum, remembered watching her daughter with her sick grandchild at the hospital.

“They put Jordan on a vent,” Barb said. “Sheri would just lay there next to her with her head on the bed.”

“We had to make her get up and go get something to eat,” Steve said.

“My kids are the center of my life,” Sheri said. “I’m living for my kids. My mom was always being protective growing up. I don’t like to leave my kids with anybody, I stay at home. I baby-sit out of the house.”

Today mother and daughters are all healthy, although the girls sometimes may squabble with each other.

Emily, now 5, and Jordan attend Bowles Elementary in the Rockwood School District. They participate in dance and pompon. Jordan is in the school opera playing the role of the maid who falls in love with the prince in the story of Rapunzel.

When Jordan saw the nomination form in the Call, she wanted to nominate her mom.

“She’s always doing things for us,” Jordan explained.

They never thought they’d win anything until they were contacted by the Call.

“I was at my dad’s,” Steve said. “We were getting ready to go bowling. The phone rang and I was thinking: ‘What happened? Who got hurt?’ and they told me she was named Mother of the Year.”

Sheri’s eyes began watering during the interview.

“We made mommy cry, girls” Barb said.

“It’s overwhelming,” Sheri said. “It’s was great to learn that they think of me like that.”