MVPP 09.30.19 | Mary Ellen Connolly – President of Thumbuddy Special

Steve Cochran

Cochran Show MVPP, graphic created by Sara Tieman 8/14/19

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Thumbuddy Special is a non-profit organization that was started over 30 years ago by a group of special education teachers and therapists who had a vision to fill a void in the field. They needed to raise money to provide adaptive equipment for children with special needs. The children required equipment to access their environment, and live a life where they could reach their maximum potential. Often the children were either denied the equipment they needed by the insurance company or public aide. Most of these family’s lack resources to purchase the equipment that their child needs.

Thumbuddy Special supplies equipment such as wheelchairs, modified strollers, adapted bikes, and ramps and adapted vans with lifts through the Sheer Love Van Program. In addition, they offer scholarships to children to attend local special recreation camps in the summer. Thumbuddy Special is proud to host a “Mom’s Day Out” for their special moms who deserve a day of pampering, shopping and dinner. The moms share their stories and leave the day feeling loved and refreshed! The Holiday Gift Program provides gifts for over 100 families and an additional 600 children in need receive gifts from our Santa. Their only source for revenue has been fundraising throughout the year, where family and friends continue to be their biggest supporters. They have 5 active members on their volunteer board and over 95% of the money they raise goes directly to the children and families.

Mary Ellen Connolly is a mother of four healthy children, and a physical therapist working for over thirty-eight years with children who are not as fortunate. She happens to believe that all kids deserve an equal chance at life and the right to interact with their peers, that is why she is the Most Valuable Person on the Planet. 

For more information visit:

P.O. Box 145 Downers Grove, IL 60515

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