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Patricia Fragen: Normal Moments

Patricia Fragen is the winner of the online People's Choice Award contest! Nearly 10,000 Dreamers voted for the honoree they found most inspiring. Read her story, then share your comments below. 

Patricia Fragen's daughter, Melissa, ended her battle with cancer on April 1, 2007, three months before her 17th birthday. 

"When discussing all the reasons we were grateful a couple of months before her death," says Patricia, "she commented, 'Everyone deserves a David,' in reference to our dear friend who stepped in to care for the dogs and plants, read mail to me during extended hospital stays, and allowed us a safe place to vent irreverent comments." 

Thus, Normal Moments, Inc. was born.

A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit that provides support services like housecleaning, lawn care, meal allowances, pet care, and a telephone support buddy to parents with critically ill children, Normal Moments was created so that families could share more of those precious "normal moments" -- together. 

Services are performed by both volunteers and professional service providers, depending on family needs and volunteer availability. Today, the organization serves about 25 families in the Chicago area, and continues to grow as families are referred by social workers and Child Life specialists within local hospitals.

See Patricia's Photo Diary

Comments (93)

  • 25 Nov, 2008

    CONGRATULATIONS, Trish!!!
    In tears...

    RL

  • 25 Nov, 2008

    CONGRATULATIONS, Trish!!!
    In tears...

    RL

  • 21 Nov, 2008

    Hooray!!! You more than deserve it. I am so, so happy you were the people's choice winner...and still a little disappointed you weren't the official Martha winner. Well, in the end it's the people - the real people - who will benefit from your help and kindness and who will continue to support you and this WONDERFUL program in the end. CONGRATS!!!!

  • 20 Nov, 2008

    Tricia, you are amazing. we are left speechless. Congratulations for winning!
    Karen, Shay and Maya

  • 20 Nov, 2008

    Oh yay, I am sooo happy you won, Tricia!!!!!
    This is soooo great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 20 Nov, 2008

    Congrats Pat .....Love you and God Bless
    Barbie

  • 20 Nov, 2008

    Congratulations Patricia! So happy for you. Kathy

  • 19 Nov, 2008

    AWESOME!!!!!!

  • 19 Nov, 2008

    Hi everybody Patricia Fragen is my aunt its me james i hope you win best of luck and im proud of you!
    ( :
    P.S i am telling the truth.

  • 18 Nov, 2008

    I have been trying to vote for Tricia since 2:30 this afternoon. It is now 7:32 and your site will still not accept my vote. This has happened many times in the last 3 weeks.

    Keep up the good work Tricia!!!

  • 13 Nov, 2008

    Hi Tricia,
    I saw you on T.V.....you were awesome!!!
    I can't wait until November 18th WHEN YOU WIN!!!!!!!!

  • 12 Nov, 2008

    Tricia, Wen n n n n n re very fortunate to ALL have a n n n n n n Trician n n n n n too. Your ongoing commitment to improving the quality of lives of others in every way is amazing. Melissa, was an amazing young woman, however, she became that way because of you. Mouse would be so proud and standing next to you in your efforts to make the world a better place for all. Love, Jim

  • 11 Nov, 2008

    Hi Tricia,
    I am so proud of you and all that you have created from the depth of your heart. The world is a better place because of Melissa and you. Your hearts will continue to touch the hearts of others. In truth, we are all one united heart. Thank you for bringing us all closer together.
    Love, Laurie

  • 11 Nov, 2008

    Go Tricia!!! Good luck - my DVR is set for tomorrow's show!!! Carly, Cal and I adore ya!

  • 11 Nov, 2008

    Hi Tricia,

    I keep coming back to vote everyday but you'd have a lot more of my votes if this site didn't have so many technical difficulties - it keeps telling me that I've voted when I know it's been more than 24-hours. I'll keep at it as you really deserve to win! We should know more about the Halloween party soon. Take care! Molly

  • 11 Nov, 2008

    Hey Tricia,
    Its Gracey!!! It looks like you might win!!! YAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYYAYYAYAYAYAYYAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Just so you know I sent all my friends an e mail telling them to VOTE FOR PATRCIA FRAGEN (Normal Moments)
    Talk to you later,
    Gracey

  • 9 Nov, 2008

    this is really great

  • 9 Nov, 2008

    Keep up the good work! Families need your services of love.

  • 8 Nov, 2008

    Hey Patricia hope you trip is going well ...We are so excited for you Rachel send her love and hope to see you soon as a Winner !!!!
    You sure deserv it....
    We love you
    Barbie

  • 7 Nov, 2008

    I salute you, Patricia, for taking the kindness extended to you and making it a lifestyle for you to provide to others. God bless.

  • 7 Nov, 2008

    right on

  • 7 Nov, 2008

    right on

  • 7 Nov, 2008

    right on

  • 7 Nov, 2008

    cooll idea

  • 6 Nov, 2008

    I believe in you. Thinking about you today!

  • 6 Nov, 2008

    Wonderful group!

  • 5 Nov, 2008

    What an unselfish beautiful idea!

  • 5 Nov, 2008

    What an unselfish beautiful idea!

  • 5 Nov, 2008

    What an unselfish beautiful idea!

  • 5 Nov, 2008

    Go to New York and do good, girl. The Mouse is watching!

    Love you,

    --K

  • 3 Nov, 2008

    And people call me a strong woman... ha! I'm pointing everyone in your direction when I hear that! Love ya! Trace

  • 2 Nov, 2008

    Amazing is truly the only way to describe you, Trish: your insight, your vision, your energy, your capacity to put ideas into reality, your caring about others, your generosity with your time and your whole being, your inspiration to others ........................... You are admired and loved!

  • 2 Nov, 2008

    Tricia,
    I am so proud and supportive of akk you are doing, God Bless You.
    I am Bailie Shingles Aunt Rose and I am so happy for all the care and support
    your Normal Moments has provided for their family and they have expressed the same to all of the prayer groups. Thank you and God love You!

  • 2 Nov, 2008

    Hi Patricia, Just want you to know that I so admire the vision for Normal Moments and am looking forward to meeting you in New York. Kathy Tolleson

  • 2 Nov, 2008

    Hello Trish, I'm a friend of Simona. What you're doing is amazing. I'm sure your daughter Melissa is very proud of you and may be the angel with the biggest smile in Heaven. My only daughter is 17, and I can't imagine not having her around. You are an inspiration!! I will pray that God blesses you and Normal Moments throughout it's growth.

  • 31 Oct, 2008

    I'm writing from Solon, Ohio. I had the pleasure of talking with Trish and my niece Melissa when visiting her in the hospital. They both told me of their dream of starting Normal Moments. I was very excited. Shortly after, our Melissa died. Her dream of helping other families went on through Trish, and many others who are giving their time and efforts to support other families. What can I say, I'm so inspired by her dedication and hard work. Thank You, Trish for helping others.

  • 31 Oct, 2008

    I'm writing from Solon, Ohio. I had the pleasure of talking

  • 30 Oct, 2008

    I just want to say you are a wonderful person for organizing all this, and of course thank all the David's of this world. I have a son with leukemia now and last year lost my 18 month old son so having long hospital stays has been a norm for us. If it had not been for family and friends I don't know how I would of been able to get through difficult times. I am happy to see motivated people like yourself doing good deeds for others just out of their hearts.

  • 30 Oct, 2008

    Patricia is an amazing woman. I recently had the honor of meeting her because I want to volunteer my services as a "David." After talking with her about the relationship between her daughter and how Normal Moments, Inc. would solidify her daughters wishes I knew right then I was in the company of the most inspiring women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I will help Patricia with anything because her heart is full of love and her dedication is relentless.

  • 26 Oct, 2008

    Tricia...Thank you for so much love for others. I am Bailie Schingle.s aunt and your ideas and ideals will really help alot of needing family,s. Thank you so much.
    Aunt Rosie

  • 24 Oct, 2008

    Tricia... you are adored by so many. I need no popularity contest to know this. What you do for Carly and I, what you do for Amy and Makenna... Meghan's family... all of YOUR new families... can't even de described in words! Thank you, Melissa and David for watching over all of us.

  • 24 Oct, 2008

    I first heard about this organization from a neighbor whose cleaning service volunteers for it. I was so excited to know something like this was out there. When our son was hospitalized during the last year and our life was in chaos this is EXACTLY what I always wished we had. I just wish I had known about it then! Now, I hope I can help. THANK YOU for doing this.

  • 24 Oct, 2008

    My best friend has a rare form of cancer and is only 31. Other than just sitting with her, I know the best way to help her is by cooking her a delicious meal, cleaning up, doing laundry, etc. Your charity is great and inspiring.

  • 23 Oct, 2008

    Patricia is absolutely amazing... she makes this world a better place. THANK YOU, TRISH, FROM ALL

  • 23 Oct, 2008

    Trish,
    you are such a hero and a role model... I wish you will be a winner!

  • 23 Oct, 2008

    Thanks, Arkansas. That has been one of the really amazing parts of this - hearing from folks all over the country who UNDERSTAND the need for this service...and even better, those who have already volunteered to join when I am able to expand to their cities. I can't wait to be able to cover the nation and truly make my promise to my daughter complete - to offer EVERYONE in need a David.

  • 23 Oct, 2008

    Patricia Thank you for all you do this Thank You is coming all the way from Arkansas =o)

  • 23 Oct, 2008

    Patricia Thank you for all you do this Thank You is coming all the way from Arkansas =o)

  • 20 Oct, 2008

    IMy name is Vicki, and I own one of the cleaning companies that helps these families. I cannot tell you how much this organization has touched my heart. Tricia and her board members have done an amzing thing. Something that absolutely deserves national exposure. I have met four of the families she is currently helping, and all they can say is Thank you so much, this is such a burden off my shoulders. She deserves this everyone, because she IS making a difference in people's live.

  • 20 Oct, 2008

    This woman and organization are phenomenal. My son EMilio has been fighting Leukemia since Jan 08. Patricia has sent us meals to the hospital and has provided a cleaning service to help keep the stress level down and allow time to care for my son. She also gathered a team to help build a swingset for my son's bday, which meant the world to us because with out them it would never have happened. She is the true meaning of giving from the heart. Ruiz Family
    www.caringbridge.org/visit/emlioruiz

  • 19 Oct, 2008

    Words cannot describe what her services have meant to me and my family. It's the little things that many family and friends forget about when it comes to helping. This is what she has provided our family with and in turn allowed us to be with our duaghter and to focus on getting her better. THANK YOU NORMAL MOMENTS!!!!
    The Marshall Family

  • 19 Oct, 2008

    Words cannot describe what her services have meant to me and my family. It's the little things that many family and friends forget about when it comes to helping. This is what she has provided our family with and in turn allowed us to be with our duaghter and to focus on getting her better. THANK YOU NORMAL MOMENTS!!!!
    The Marshall Family

  • 16 Oct, 2008

    Hmm...last comment got abbreviated. Wanted to thank everyone for great quotes that help us get our message out about how important some of these "little things" that we do can be during times of crisis. The support is incredible!

  • 16 Oct, 2008

    I rec'd 2 great emails today, 1 sparked by this site

  • 16 Oct, 2008

    Go to any Children's Cancer Hospital and see the frazzled parents that have been at their kids bedside endless hours and know that Patricia Fragen is doing a great service for them by helping to keep their homelife as normal as it can be with her services of Mercy-she is a great Soul.

  • 16 Oct, 2008

    Go to any Children's Cancer Hospital and see the frazzled parents that have been at their kids bedside endless hours and know that Patricia Fragen is doing a great service for them by helping to keep their homelife as normal as it can be with her services of Mercy-she is a great Soul.

  • 16 Oct, 2008

    I grew up in Wellesley, MA where there is no trash pick-up. Everyone brings their trash to the town dump. When my brother and father died in a boating accident 40 years ago, a neighbor stopped by a few days later and offered to take our trash to the dump. Of all the kind things that people did for us during that difficult time, that is the one thing my mother remembers most fondly. Tricia is right, normal moments take on special meaning when your world is turned upside down.

  • 15 Oct, 2008

    FYI - One thing I learned recently was that my employer does donate to 501(c)(3) organizations twice a year. I encouraged Tricia to apply for funding. I value her help so much that I feel guilty accepting her help. Like I need to donate back... but that's not the point, they are here to help Carly

  • 15 Oct, 2008

    Thanks for your support, Bijouxhunter....we'd love to have this amazing opportunity for national exposure bring us some folks interested in helping expand our operations into areas beyond the greater Chicao Metropolitan vicinity. That is the ultimate goal - to provide services to EVERY family who needs/wants it!!

  • 15 Oct, 2008

    I think what you offer is really extremely helpful especially under the crush of the high costs of help and care. To have people help families under crisis to have some normal time is very healing and useful and a service that is much in need around the country. Keep up the wonderful service!

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    As of today, Normal Moments has increased the number of families served to 45. WIth the help of this contest, we hope to so more significant outreach to attract more volunteers as well as more referral sources for families in need. In the best case scenario, there will be folks in other cities interested in helping us open satellite Normal Moments groups so that we can begin serving the nation instead of just the Chicagoland area. Thank you all for the incredibly supportive comments!

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    Trish, as a mother of five very different children I am thrilled to have them by my side. I am so blessed and I thank God everyday for my family. I am so sorry that you have had to go through so much. As a mother I can only imagine the strength it takes to help so many after such a tragedy. My Johnathan is 10 and is the most fun loving child and he is so excited. This is his sense of humor and he is truly kidding around. They are my world and everyday is an adventure!!

  • 13 Oct, 2008

    you are very nice thanks for replying

  • 13 Oct, 2008

    did you rig it..............no just kidding

  • 13 Oct, 2008

    please let tabitha win she is my mom and I did a fake name for this heeheehee

  • 12 Oct, 2008

    One More From the Williams.
    We want you to know that we treasure your friendship and what your Organization does for us and all the needy families like ours.
    We love you
    Barbie and Rachel
    www.ourlittleprincess2002.com

  • 12 Oct, 2008

    I consider myself lucky to have known Melissa and because of that, I know that this company was partly her idea as well. Melissa was the most kind hearted girl I ever knew and I can't imagine what she would have done for pediatric cancer research. But this company, these people, they all have a part of Melissa in them, and that makes me smile, because I see that she is living on with the help of her mom. Way to go Trisha, I'm here for you all the way! ~Nicole~

  • 11 Oct, 2008

    I am proud to be a 'David' for this organization. My daughter had an unexpected week long stay at Comer's Childrens Hospital shortly before an article about Normal Moments appeared in the Chicago Sun Times. After reading the article I was compelled to contact Tricia and volunteer. She is even more incredible in person. The journey she and Melissa endured ended in a way no mother ever wants to think about...yet from tragedy she created 'Normal Moments'. Good luck Tricia and NM!!

  • 11 Oct, 2008

    Normal Moments is a very worthwhile cause. The prize money will help, but the national exposure will hopefully go further in developing this important organization so that more families can be helped. In such a stressful time, it can be such a great comfort to know the stuff that has to get done is under control. Go, Tricia! You are amazing in every way. Love, K

  • 10 Oct, 2008

    i was the first Mom to receive the blessings from Normal Moments. I didn't even know that it existed, i talked to Tricia and realized her daughter was very close to passing. That did not effect her compassion for me and mine one bit. Melissa, I am sure is very proud of her Mom's accomplishments in her name and memory.

  • 10 Oct, 2008

    Tricia, you are amazing. Carly and I are very proud of you!

  • 10 Oct, 2008

    Tricia, you are amazing. Carly and I are very proud of you!

  • 10 Oct, 2008

    What an amazing lady you are! such a great cause and the help and support for all the people your helping will be remembered forever.

  • 10 Oct, 2008

    What an amazing lady you are! such a great cause and the help and support for all the people your helping will be remembered forever.

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    This is a very dedicated person who has formed an organization that provides very valuable services to parents in need of help with everyday chores. The # of families served is now up to 40. There is nothing like helpful comments to parents who have children with cancer like someone who has been there herself. She deserves all the votes she can get.

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    Thank you so much for helping my friend when I can't.

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    I think what you are doing is such a wonderful service to people! Anyone can dream up a crafty idea but to combine creativity with a good dead is tantamount to the greater good. Your non-profit status only emphasizes what a beautiful heart you have....I am sure you are making a huge difference in people's lives without personal monetary gain. I really hope you win!

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    When my twins were born, I never imagined Elena would still be in the NICU 20wks later. We haven't met in person yet, but you are a great friend. Thank you for allowing us more time with our babies www.caringbridge.org/visit/elenaperez
    You have relieved some of the everyday stress (cooking and yardwork) that becomes intensified while living in crisis mode. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    Patricia,
    You are an amazing woman! My friend is currently getting much needed help from your service. Keep up the great work. You are an inspiration.

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    Tricia...just as more "Davids" in the world, we need more "Tricia's" as well! Your story is compelling and your passion is contagious. We at the Foundation for Community Betterment are honored to help promote Normal Moments and all you stand for! You deserve this award!

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    Patricia we thank you from the bottom of our hears Normal Moments have been a God send to us.
    Melissa memory will always be treasured and you have been an amazing mom and Friend.
    I am honored and blessed to have you as my friend.
    God Bless
    Barbie and Rachel

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    Patricia,

    ...what an amazing inspiration you are and what amazing energy you possess to be able to overcome your grief with such giving! As your fellow doer, I look forward to hearing more!

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    Tricia - I am so thankful to you for being here for Carly and I. Having someone to come do my lawn so I don't have to worry about who can watch Carly has made such a difference in having a "normal" weekend. Knowing I can call you and have a good cry or laugh means the world to me. Working full time, being a divorced mother of two, in which one has Leukemia... and not being comfortable in asking for help... you gave me no choice but to adore you! Thank you!

    Love - Trace, Carly and Cal

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    Tricia, I am honored and blessed to have been an extremely small part in Melissa's very short life. Velvet was a very special dog, brought into our lives for a very special reason. I am so inspired by your strength. Jill (Velvet's foster mom)

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    Just reading about Normal Moments is very inspiring. When people go through difficult times it is usually nothing like they thought it would be. Its hard to ask for help, even from your closest friends and family. Nothing is like you would think it would be and you need good people like yourself to be there like you need air - so my hat is off to you. Bravo bravo bravo, from someone who has been there and wished there was someone like you. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    It's inspiring to read about people like you. Hope that "Normal moments, Inc" wins so can continue to help as now. YOUR ARE A WINNER ALREADY.

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    Absolutely fabulous. Congrats on being a finalist.

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    We are now up to 42 families and growing. We had the opportunity to become part of one of the largest children's hospitals in the area, however we do not want to limit our services to only families being treated there. We are hopeful that we will get funding and interest to EXPAND our service area to other areas. Thank you for your kind comments.

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    We are now up to 42 families and growing. We had the opportunity to become part of one of the largest children's hospitals in the area, however we do not want to limit our services to only families being treated there. We are hopeful that we will get funding and interest to EXPAND our service area to other areas. Thank you for your kind comments.

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    We are now up to 42 families and growing. We had the opportunity to become part of one of the largest children's hospitals in the area, however we do not want to limit our services to only families being treated there. We are hopeful that we will get funding and interest to EXPAND our service area to other areas. Thank you for your kind comments.

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    We are now up to 42 families and growing. We had the opportunity to become part of one of the largest children's hospitals in the area, however we do not want to limit our services to only families being treated there. We are hopeful that we will get funding and interest to EXPAND our service area to other areas. Thank you for your kind comments.

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    You are amazing. What an inspiration. What a gift.

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    How blessed you were in such a horrible time in your life. Keep up your good work. You will never realize that you may save some care givers life. If anyone has ever been a care giver to the dieing they know how health threatening it can be. God Bless You