About Abigale Marie's Family Foundation
Abigale Marie’s Family Foundation began from our hearts and because of our angel, Abby. In 2005, Abby and her twin brother, Drew, came into this world three months premature. Four days after birth, Abby developed a grade IV brain bleed that left her with Cerebral Palsy and vision impairment. We were told Abby may not survive this bleed and if she did, she may never walk, talk, eat or do anything on her own. Abby has defied the odds her entire life. She is a true miracle and a gift to everyone who knows her.
Fast forward to now! Although Abby’s days are more challenging than most, she lives with a smile on her face and so much love in her heart. Her journey has led us to meeting other families with special needs children. After hearing countless stories of how many of these kids do not have friends, they do not get invited to parties, or they are simply not included, we knew we had to do something. We believe every child should have something to look forward to. Abigale Marie’s Family Foundation was formed in honor of Abby.
Meet the Team
Mindy Helmer, CEO and Founder
With a professional background in community relations, fundraising, nonprofits and event planning, Mindy hopes this foundation will give special needs kids and their families, a sense of love and community involvement. Mindy grew up in a family where helping others was a priority. Her mom oversaw every aspect of their church’s community outreach and giving programs. At a young age, Mindy witnessed firsthand the need in low-income areas. She and her dad would deliver Thanksgiving dinners to the less fortunate, and Christmas presents to children in the inner city of their hometown. Mindy said it was heartbreaking yet rewarding to know they helped people when they needed it most. She knows that helping others in their time of need is something she was born to do. Mindy has instilled this drive into her own children. The Helmer family is involved in multiple community outreach programs which her children find great joy and pride in.
Tom Helmer, Board of Directors
Tom is the play-by-play announcer for Eastern Michigan University Football and Men’s and Women’s Basketball. He has also done sideline reporting and pre/post game shows for just about every major league sport. He’s interviewed athletes from Barry Sanders to Pete Rose to Peyton Manning. Tom called Missy Franklin’s state swim meet. He recreated the infamous Immaculate Reception in his own hilarious yet informative way. But, Tom’s greatest accomplishments are his four children. He’s taught them the value of hard work, how to be the best person they can be and to take pride in who they are. Tom said his favorite sound is his children’s laughter.
Charlie Mateskon, Board of Directors
Charlie is a Radiation Oncologist with Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers. His gentle nature and sense of humor make Charlie not only an incredible doctor, but also a man who truly cares about his patients. He exemplifies this caring nature in every aspect of his life. Charlie is a neighbor, but more importantly, a friend of Tom and Mindy’s. A few years ago, Charlie started a tradition that means more to the Helmer’s than he’ll ever know. One night, Abby was looking out her window at the Christmas lights hung on Charlie’s outdoor trees. She noticed that one tree had purple lights. The next day, Abby told Charlie how much she liked that tree, to which he said, “I did that for you Abby.” Years later, Charlie still decorates this tree during the Christmas season for Abby, knowing she’ll see it every night before bed. Charlie and his wife, Joan, are dear friends of the Helmer’s, and Mindy feels blessed to have them in her family’s lives.