Mary Caruso

Parents put their children first—that’s just expected. But not every parent faces the challenge that Mary Caruso has faced: coping with the diagnosis of a debilitating disease in both of her young daughters. Mary founded the Friedreich’s Ataxia Alliance soon after her daughters Sam and Alex Bode were diagnosed with the progressive neural disorder, providing a network of support to others while devoting her own energies to raising her girls. The fact that Sam and Alex are both dynamic, engaged, and inspiring members of their community today can be traced back to their mom, of whom one nominator wrote, “She smiles every day through her chaotic life and brings cheer to all.”