Angel’s Hands Foundation (AHF) was founded in 2001 by Mark and Roxann Kristensen, and Steve and Sue Stauffer. After returning from a National MPS Conference on the Kristensen’s son Matt’s disease, and experiencing the daily needs of a families living with unusual medical circumstances, the Stauffers and Kristensens decided to raise money to help Utah families deal with the everyday struggles facing families living with rare diseases.
Steve’s sister Debbie who lived with Down’s syndrome, and Matt, both passed away in 2002. AHF continues to grow and support Utah families. The mission of AHF is simple, “Improve the quality of life for individuals living with rare diseases.” In 2001, AHF supported Utah families with three forms of a rare disease (MPS). Since 2001, AHF has provided support and assistance to Utah families living with over 150 different rare conditions and about 50 undiagnosed conditions. AHF has also provided financial support to local children’s hospitals, local school districts, and other local charities that support these families. AHF continues to find unique diseases and conditions where families need assistance.
AHF primary purpose is to assist with medically related expenses, either not covered or partially covered, by insurance. AHF also assists with non-medically necessary equipment that has shown to improve the quality of life for individuals. Even with insurance benefits, many families often struggle to give their children some of the simple joys in life. Hearing aids, wheel chairs, specialty strollers, special beds, braces, therapy spas, specialty bicycles, air conditioning and air filtration systems, special bath tubs, and many other items have been provided to our children.
AHF provides educational support by bringing our families together locally, to network and discuss individual issues related to health care, future personal needs, and education. AHF also assists families with expenses related to attending national conferences to meet families from around the country living with the same rare condition, learn about the latest treatments and research on their child’s disease, as well as meeting the scientists who are doing research and medical specialists on their child’s disease.
Emotional, moral, and social support is often not available for families with rare conditions that are available for more common diagnosis. AHF has developed a support system for our families. This has provided emotional support during difficult moments. Hospitalization is difficult each time our children get sick, and death is unbearable when our children die. This happens too often for many of our families.
AHF provides monthly social outings for our families. Many of our children do not go out in public due to their conditions, either physical limitations or appearance. AHF has taken families to professional hockey, basketball and baseball games. We have hosted private swimming parties, pizza parties, Christmas parties, fishing parties, kite flying picnics.AHF has taken kids snow skiing, to the zoo, to movies, the circus, monster truck shows, and many others. Many of these events are luxuries that our families cannot afford, due to the financial hardships brought on by the diseases. The making of memories is the greatest reward to the Kristensen’s and Stauffer’s. Matt and Debbie’s legacies live on through the smiles and opportunities these families share with each other.
AHF also supports national organizations in a way the directly affects our Utah families. AHF supports The National MPS Society’s scholarship program for parents and healthy siblings that choose to study in a field related their family’s disease or difficulties. Paying family national dues allows families to get the latest information, as soon as it becomes available through national organizations. The National MPS Society support remains, to honor Matt and the other original MPS families that inspired AHF.
AHF remains an all volunteer organization. We have been able to do all of this because of the support we have received from so many. The support of so many volunteers has allowed us to average about 98% of our program spending to go directly to our families. AHF has not paid one cent in wages since we began in 2001. The financial support has come from big and small business, various groups, and individuals. Our hosted fundraising events continue to grow as our family participation continues to grow.
2017 will bring the following AHF fund raising activities:
- * 8th Annual Ride for the Angels- bicycle ride – May 20
- * 13th Annual AHF Ames Construction Golf Tournament – June TBD
- * 15th Annual Angels in the Park Festival – Motorcycle ride, Car Show, and Festival – July 15
- * 16th Annual “Friend Raiser” – Dinner/Auction – TBD
We hope this information will inspire you to help us in some way. As a volunteer, giving financial support, or helping us to find families that could benefit from hearing about us. AHF continues to inspire everyone we encounter to act in some way to help others. It is also the legacy of all of our children that have passed away the past several years.
AHF is recognized by the IRS as a 501c3 tax exempt organization. Federal Tax ID 87-0674033
We hope to hear from you.
Mark Kristensen, President – Angel’s Hands Foundation
11152 Sunup Way
South Jordan, UT 84095