Bowling fundraiser to benefit disabled at Little Angels

A unique Super Bowl party in Hoffman Estates offers fans a winning proposition: unlimited bowling, a buffet supper and silent auction items, as well as the chance to benefit residents of the Marklund Wasmond Center at Little Angels in Elgin.

This is the eighth year that members of the Schaumburg Hoffman Estates Lions Club are hosting the Super Bowl event, which takes place Sunday at Poplar Creek Bowl in Hoffman Estates.

“It's a fun, family-friendly way to enjoy the Super Bowl, as the game will be shown throughout Poplar Creek,” says Vivian Leabhart, one of the officers of the Lions Club.

“We want to make it easy for people to have fun — while doing something good.”

Proceeds from the event benefit the 57 medically complex “Little Angels” with developmental disabilities who reside at the Marklund Wasmond Center in Elgin. Most need 24-hour, skilled nursing care and require comprehensive respiratory and therapeutic services.

Heather Graves, development officer with Marklund, says Schaumburg Hoffman Estates Lions have raised approximately $30,000 over the years through their Super Bowl event, and it helps fill the gap between the cost of delivering quality care and reimbursement from the state.

“The Marklund promise is to make everyday life possible for individuals with profound disabilities,” Graves says, “and we're thankful for the generosity of this group to help us deliver that promise.”

This year's Super Bowl party will be the first since Little Angels formally merged in November with Marklund, based in Geneva and Bloomingdale. Its center was renamed to reflect not only Marklund, but the Wasmond family, whose mother, Pat, started Little Angels in 1958.

Her daughter, Shelley Lewis, now serves as administrator of the Marklund Wasmond Center at Little Angels, which is committed to continuing her mother's vision to create a home for children with profound disabilities.

Nearly 10 years ago, Lewis met with members of the Schaumburg Hoffman Estates Lions Club and shared her family's story. Ever since, the Lions have volunteered at the center's biggest fundraiser, its Pledge Run motorcycle ride in May, and now have formed their own charity benefit timed around the Super Bowl.

As part of Sunday's festivities, five of the Marklund Little Angels will arrive before the public to try their hand at bowling. Officials at Poplar Creek install special ramps to make it possible for them to participate. Typically, these clients and their aids are on hand for the beginning of the party.

Suzanne Shaughnessy is another officer of the Lions Club, who first brought the idea of volunteering for Little Angels to her fellow members, as a member of the Elgin Area Organization of Motorcycle Riders.

“It's been a great experience being part of both organizations helping Little Angels,” Shaughnessy says. “The Marklund Wasmond Center at Little Angels is an exceptional facility. The care the staff has for the residents there is just incredible.”

Members of the Lions Club come from Arlington Heights, Elgin, Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg and South Elgin, but they come together around the organization's motto — we serve — and share in its goal of helping surrounding communities.

“Hosting the Super Bowl event is one of the many activities we look forward to,” Shaughnessy adds. “It does take a lot of effort to put it together, but it is well worth it in the end. The faces of the residents and the appreciation from Shelley Lewis is why we do it.”

Using special equipment, a resident of Little Angels in Elgin bowls during a previous SuperBowling with the Little Angels fundraiser sponsored by the Schamburg-Hoffman Lions Club. This year's event, which starts at 4 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 4, features bowling, food, a silent auction and TVs showing the game at Poplar Creek Bowl in Hoffman Estates. Courtesy of Lion Jack Brey
The SuperBowling with the Little Angels fundraiser includes unlimited bowling, a dinner buffet and a silent auction. Proceeds benefit the Marklund Wasmond Center at Little Angels in Elgin. Courtesy of Schaumburg-Hoffman Lions Club

If you go

What: SuperBowling with the Little Angels silent auction and party

When: 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4

Where: Poplar Creek Bowl, 2354 W. Higgins Road, Hoffman Estates

Cost: $25 for adults and $15 for children younger than 13

Includes: Unlimited bowling, shoe rental, dinner buffet

Benefits: Individuals with profound disabilities at Marklund Wasmond Center at Little Angels, Elgin

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