Saturday, March 15, 2014

Boston Marathon survivors J.P. and Paul Norden's mom Liz is the winner of “LIVE! With Kelly and Michael’s - Unstoppable Mom" contest.


After a year filled with heartache, Stoneham’s Liz Norden was honored yesterday for resilience that was truly Boston strong.
The 52-year-old mother of five was awarded $100,000 as the winner of “LIVE! With Kelly and Michael’s” “Search for Unstoppable Moms” contest.
“It still hasn’t set in yet,” Norden told the Herald yesterday from New York City. “I’m at a loss for words. I really never expected it.”
Norden, mother of Boston Marathon bombings survivors J.P. and Paul Norden, was one of four finalists in the show’s search celebrating women who go above and beyond for their families. The three other finalists received $10,000. Viewer votes determined Norden’s victory.
Since the announcement, her cellphone has been overflowing with congratulatory texts and messages.
“Thank you, truly and honestly,” she said of those who voted. “You know, Boston Strong, amazing people, truly wonderful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It really means a lot to me and my family.”
Norden was joined onstage by her children; J.P., 34; Paul, 32; Jonathan, 28; Colleen, 27; and Caitlin, 25, as well as her 5-year-old granddaughter, Gabbie Ferullo.
The Bay State native plans to put a portion of the money toward a nonprofit, A Leg for Life, to help J.P. and Paul, who each lost a leg in the blasts last April. She hasn’t decided how she’ll spend the rest.
“Money has been tight,” said Norden, who gave up her job cleaning houses to care full time for her sons. “I have a lot of bills that need to be caught up on.”
Norden and her family were able to spend the week in New York and enjoyed a visit to a children’s museum with her granddaughter and a horse and buggy ride.
“It was nice. The whole family was together, and we haven’t been on a vacation together in so long,” she said.
Norden, along with the other finalists, also was awarded an all-expenses paid five-night trip to Walt Disney World with her family. She is unsure when they will be able to go. Both J.P. and Paul require additional surgeries; J.P. for his ears, and Paul for his hand.
“My kids told me regardless what happened, I was a winner,” Norden said. “It’s been a crazy year.”