This award is especially appropriate because my dear Wendy is currently battling lung cancer, even though she has never smoked.

This first year's recipient is Mary Ann Chvala. I'm choosing you, Mary Ann, because you may well have saved my life and though you remember our time together, you have no idea how important it was nor how profound the gift you gave me.

It was several months after my 14 year old daughter, Heather's, severe head injury. Heather had been a totally adored and gifted child. I was devastated. I frequently felt like I didn't want to live. I felt like I was drowning. Meanwhile, you were at the hospital with your daughter-in-law, Tracy, who had also suffered a severe head injury eight months before my Heather. At the time we met Heather was only semi-conscious most of the time. We were trying to coax her out of her coma. Tracy had progressed to being able to sit up and eat and communicate.

The gift you gave me, Mary Ann, was this: You told me over and over, YOU MUST LOOK FOR AND CELEBRATE EVER POSITIVE STEP NO MATTER HOW SMALL. Once I began to search for the positives there was less room in my mind for the negatives. Soon I began to have more enthusiasm for facing the future. In time I realized that though my Heather would never be the same, she was still a person, full of life and fun and surprises. I feel that you opened a door for me that I didn't know was there. Once I passed through, nothing was ever the same again. In recognition of this gift I award you, Mary Ann Chvala, the first ever Wendy Benton May Day Award for Forgotten Kindness.

It is my hope that next year you will give the award and the May basket to an important person in your life that may not realize their importance.

Love, Dianne