Teen stomps loving message in snow for sick mom

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By Lisa Flam

Everything changed last week for Will Hart as his mother, “the best mom that anybody could ever have,” was diagnosed with cancer and hospitalized for treatment, leaving the 14-year-old feeling scared and hopeless.

“I was really sad and depressed when I heard she had leukemia, and I didn’t know what to do,” the high school freshman from Bolingbrook, Ill., said.

To boost her spirits, the teen made a simple gesture that brought joy not only to his mom, Shari Hart, but to many others at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago as well.

On Saturday, as Will headed to the hospital with his dad and uncle, the trio shuffled their feet through the snow on top of a parking garage to form a message from Will: “Hi Mom,” with a smiley face inside the O just for fun.

From the garage across the street, he called Hart and coaxed her to her 14th floor window, where she proudly waved down to her son. The snowy note came as Hart, who has acute myeloid leukemia, was exhausted from chemotherapy.

“It was very sweet and I felt very uplifted,” said Hart, 48. “My son is an amazing 14-year-old with an ability to make me smile any time of day.”

It's not the only heartwarming snow message appearing outside of hospitals. Earlier this week, an unknown woman and man stomped the word "Love" and a peace symbol outside of the St. Cloud Hospital in Minnesota. 

After visiting his wife in the hospital, Hart’s husband, Tim, felt the trio should add to their message to inspire fellow patients and the doctors and nurses caring for them. They planned for “God Bless You All,” but ran out of space, with room only for: “God Bless U” in large capital letters.

“It was a proud mommy moment, and being married to someone who wants to send a message to so many people is beyond wonderful,” said Hart, married for 24 years. “The amount of love there is just incredible.”

Will noticed that people were watching from other windows in the hospital, some waving and jumping up and down with excitement.

One of those was Angela Washek, a surgical intensive care unit nurse, who snapped a photo and shared it with hospital officials. After the hospital posted the photo on its Facebook page Monday, Will’s 18-year-old sister, Hannah, identified her family. “It brought joy to my whole unit and our patients’ families just as much as I'm sure it brought joy to your family,” Washek wrote on Facebook to Hannah.  

Though the snow message was plowed away Monday, Hannah said it will stay with her mom, who faces several more weeks of hospitalization and chemotherapy.

While Hannah said it’s “just like my brother” to spread happiness, the family was surprised by the attention the gesture is getting, and they are grateful so many people have enjoyed it.

“My mom, she’s the best mom that anybody could ever have and she’s great, caring, loving,” Will said. “She’s just everything that you can possibly imagine.”