aH4 L! - Beginnings!

Our Beginnings!

Seeds rooted in History!

This story promises to be told in greater detail later.

But aHAND4 ® Life! has as its beginnings - HISTORY - all those who ever sacrificed and effectively helped anyone in a significant way, with their substantial living need(s) due to a significant physical disadvantage.

Certainly, every loving, responsible parent today knows what this is about - for their newborn, infant, toddler young child, even thru adulthood.

Modern Seeds planted in Plymouth, WI! (1963 - 1982)

This Organization began as seeds developed in the life of Co-Founder Mr. Edward W. LeMahieu, as he experienced the lives of his family as he grew up. A member of a lower-middle class family, in a small upper Mid-west American town, Ed saw ordinary people offer automatically, courteously, "a helping hand" - many "... supporting sacrificially," "...as needed, for life", those with exceptional needs, many of which were chronic, and physical.

A premature loss of a grandfather, leaving the Co-Founders' father and uncle (brothers) to provide significant care for their mother - who was of limited education, ability to drive, and thus income - who later suffered various illnessness, frailty, eventually life and death in a nursing home - all formed a significant impression on Mr. LeMahieu about "needs", and "meeting those needs".

Similarly, care by Ed's mother and father of a grandfather retired prematurely by debilitating respiratory disease, in the family home, until death. And a number of relatives, cousins, second-cousins, all providing care for family members - with autism, downs-syndrome, mental retardation, blindness, severe respiratory and mobility disabilities, etc. All these left a profound impression ... on Ed.

More Seeds planted in Milwaukee, WI! (1982)

More seeds were planted in the life of Co-Founder Mr. Edward LeMahieu began in his role as a young adult father, at age twenty (20), of a son who has grown normally to be a productive engineer and married member of society. A second son was born to a young family, two (2) years later, the other Co-Founder, Mr. Brett E. LeMahieu, and life seemed normal - a young boy, and his brother, and family, exhuberant for life."

"Germination" in St Paul, MN! (1982 - 2001)

Five (5) years later, "germination" began, when Brett was diagnosed with a substantial neuromuscular disability, Generalized Dystonia - no known cause, no known cure - a simple cold (laryngitis) with a voice that didnt return - within a year, a foot turneing in, and in seven years (age 13), complete loss of ability to stand, walk and perform activities of daily life!

"Germination" continued as the challenge was accepted, with strength to move forward, though with no "instruction manual". Needs were discovered, adaptations forged, solutions developed - to ease life, in attempt to provide happiness, in the midst of significant adversity. Care, medications, two (2) brain surgeries in three years, ages 13 and 16, learning to engage limited caregivers, manage finances, family, siblings, careers - striving to create happiness and avoid devastation.

We are the Team that decided aHAND4 Life! should be. And are passionately leading its growth for strength and Service in the coming decades. We set out on an journey that was certainly improbable- but we hope will prove incredible - to form an Organization unlike any other in existence today, dedicated to "filling gaps" in care and service, with quality, safety, guidance and support - creating a new level of Community involvement, and pursuit of Happiness by People with a chronic, Significant Physical Disability due to Development.

On behalf of those who we are certain will come, who will benefit by the Services of this Organization, we hope we have done well for you. To all those who will give of their time, talent, and treasures - we thank you in advance - we are confident that you too will experience the great joy that we have toward helping those with significant needs, in meaningful ways, and making disadvantaged lives much better!

Brett E. LeMahieu

aH4L! Director,
Founding Ambassador

Edward W. LeMahieu

aH4L! President, Chairman, Secretary,
CFO, Founder, Honored Parent!

Further "Germination" in Silicon Valley and Santa Clara & Monterey Counties, CA! (2003-2006)

Seeds continued in germination as Co-Founder Mr. Edward W. LeMahieu, in 2003 thru late 2006, worked in Biomedical Device technology development, and Service as Director on the Board of Not-for-Profit Housing Choices. Ed began to formulate what has become aHAND4 Life!'s Business Plan, TO:

  • 1. leverage his acquired knowledge gained over many years "the hard way", thru life's difficult challenges, "walking the walk", as a dedicated Parent - in to an effective functioning Organization; and

  • 2. leverage the experience endured and lived by Co-founder Mr. Brett E. LeMahieu, who had suffered through a near full cycle of health and disability, and communicate such throughout the Organization and in the Community, to the betterment of others similarly afflicted; and

  • 3. build such Organization locally, State-wide, and Nationally, in to posterity, for the significant benefit of "MANY".

The answer, they believed, and believe, is yes. And so aHAND4 Life!® became a passionate pursuit of our Founders.

In July, 2007, Mr. Edward LeMahieu, then residing in San Jose, CA, with co-founder Mr. Brett E. LeMahieu, residing in affordable housing in Salinas, CA, decided it was time to implement "the dream".

After a number of months of additional planning, in November of 2007 both decided to "turned on the switch" and put "the Plan" in to motion. Mr. LeMahieu packed belongings, savings and with Brett, moved to Los Angeles to begin the great adventure of building a Corporation and Not-for-Profit Organization with Mission to defined by the seeds above - create a "helping hand" system for the many people in America that are chronically, significantly physically disabled due to development, and often significantly financially in need thereby, but who, with desire for greater self-reliance and to live responsibly, semi-independently in their "supported living", pursuing their own happiness - with the support of their families and those who care for them.

Further "Germination" in Los Angeles, CA! (2008)

With the help of the Founders' son/brother, Mr. Wesley LeMahieu, also a Professional Advisor to the Organization (Webdesign & Databases), both Ed and Brett settled in Santa Monica and continued completing formation activities as a California Public Benefit Corporation.

"Flowers beginning to bud" in Los Angeles! (2009 to present)

After many more months of developing a visionary, detailed set of Articles for Corporate governance, and a specific Vision, and Mission, in May of 2009 the Organization's Articles were accepted by California's Secretary of State (SOS)("filed"), and we were born a California Public Benefit Corporation.

Work then began on gaining IRS US 501c3 "tax-exempt" status, the ultimate vision for the Organization - a US Public Charity. After a long wait "in queue" with IRS (eighteen (18) months), and several additional months of resolutions with IRS, removing structures that were intended to permanently remove significantly physically disabled individuals from government dependence, after two (2) long years in total, IRS sent its recognition letter of US 501c3 "tax-exempt" status to the Founders - and aHAND4 ® Life! was born a US Public Charity, retroactive to the date of our Application - May 27th, 2009!