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Amanda Weichers: Cedar Falls mom passionate about inclusion

Amanda Weichers: Cedar Falls mom passionate about inclusion

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Eighteenth in a series on this year’s 20 Under 40 winners.

CEDAR FALLS — If you bring up the subject of inclusion to Amanda Weichers, be prepared for a passionate discussion.

Since her son, Beau, 10, was diagnosed at 17 months old with epilepsy and partial agenesis of the corpus callosum, a condition where part of the brain is missing, Weichers has made it her mission to raise awareness about brain disorders and help those affected.

When Weichers and her husband, Andy, received their son’s diagnosis, they were devastated.

“I knew something was different,” Weichers said. “Something didn’t seem right. The doctors gave us the answer but couldn’t tell us what to expect. You go through the grieving process.

“But I refused to let this get the best of me. I can’t sit here and lay in bed and cry. Something good can come of this.”

That’s when Weichers decided to start a nonprofit, Beau’s Beautiful Blessings.

“I worked for a law firm at the time and talked with an attorney. They helped with the paperwork. We started off with annual bowling fundraisers, and we would raise $10,000 to $12,000.

“It is a small nonprofit. It’s not a full-time job, it’s all volunteer. We help children with brain injuries, abnormalities and epilepsy get things insurance does not cover. We’ve done adaptive strollers, adaptive seating. ... We’ve assisted with the funerals of three Waterloo children whose deaths had some relation to a brain condition.”

Weichers, who graduated from Hudson High School and now lives in Cedar Falls, and her husband own Weicks Media.

“We do digital marketing, website and social media management,” she said. “Ninety-five percent of our clients are in the outdoor industry. We have lodges, outfitters, that kind of thing.”

In addition to the business and the nonprofit, Weichers took on another challenge about three and a half years ago.

Your Place to Play, a $1 million inclusive park, will be built at the current site of Greenhill Park at Algonquin and Ashworth drives in Cedar Falls.

The park is the brainchild of Weichers and Sarah Corkery, a 20 Under 40 alum who also has a special needs child — and one of many who nominated Weichers for 20 Under 40 honors. The pair recently reached their fundraising goal that will make the park a reality.

“It’s been a labor of love,” Weichers said. “It’s amazing that a group of moms could pull this off.”

Weichers said there were some key “milestone moments” during the fundraising process, including a $20,000 Guernsey Foundation grant and being chosen to receive $12,000 from 100+ Women Who Care Cedar Valley.

But perhaps the donation that touched Weichers the most came from Beau’s classmates at Hansen Elementary School.

“The kids wanted to help with Beau’s park — that’s what they call it,” she said.

One of Beau’s classmates had bought a handmade bracelet for a dollar to support a cause. She then suggested making and selling bracelets to raise money for the park. The students even prepared a Power Point presentation to pitch the idea to the Weichers.

“It was just incredible,” Weichers said. “They come in early, stay in for recess, sell bracelets before school. In three months they raised several thousand dollars.

“They would have garage sales. A group of classmates who were having birthday parties would say they didn’t want gifts, they wanted donations for the park.

“All together, they raised more than $12,000. They are still his biggest advocates.”

Weichers said she’s be lying if she didn’t consider giving up at times in the process.

“I would get a denial and I’d be devastated,” she said. “I asked myself many times if I could keep doing this. It’s hard. We don’t have a dedicated staff, and we are trying to build our business. It’s been a lot of nights and weekends.

“But then I think of those kids. They were my motivation to keep going and fight harder for every dollar.”

A groundbreaking for the new park was held Sept. 29.

“I am just so grateful the community has rallied behind this project and trusted me and believed in me. This park is going to have a bigger impact than people realize.

“I would tell people, ‘If you want something, just go out and get it. You can’t wait for someone else to do it.”

“I would tell people, ‘If you want something, just go out and get it. You can’t wait for someone else to do it.”

"I would tell people, 'If you want something, just go out and get it. You can't wait for someone else to do it."

Amanda Weichers quote
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