“PABS” is for Pia and Abbie; our teen co-founders. Lifelong friends, Abbie was diagnosed at the age of 13 in with Type 1 Diabetes. Not a year later, Pia received her diagnosis at the age of 14: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Stage IIA. Thanks to the wonderful care they received at Children’s Hospitals of Minnesota, Pia is now cancer free and Abbie has her diabetes under control and both girls started their first year of college this fall.
With a lot of help from their families, they founded PAB’S PACKS in 2015 to fill the comfort gap they witnessed for teen patients in the hospital. Today, their organization partners with over 30 hospitals and summer camps nationwide, connecting thousands of teens and families.
PAB’S PACKS is nonprofit organization founded by teens, for teens. We provide comfort and encouragement to chronically ill teenagers by donating custom designed backpacks filled with select items to enhance an adolescent’s hospital stay.
Chief Inspiration Officer
Abbie is a 19 year old college freshman at Tufts University in Boston, MA. She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in March of 2013 at the age of 13 and is an advocate for other children living with the disease. Abbie is interested in studying nonprofit management and leadership and loves being outdoors, especially around the Minneapolis lakes when she’s visiting home. She played competitive lacrosse and tennis in high school and loves printmaking and enjoying quality time with her family and friends.
Chief Inspiration Officer
Pia is an 18 year old college freshman at Emory University in Atlanta, GA where she serves on Atlanta Pediatric Children’s Hospital student board. When home in Minneapolis she loves to walk around the downtown lakes and do art projects as well as spend time with her close-knit family and friends. Pia is in remission from Hodgkins Lymphoma stage IIA.
Chief Idea Officer
Martha is an interior designer who has both an eponymous firm specializing in both commercial and residential interiors. She is inspired by beautiful design whether it is interiors, art, clothing or jewelry. She and her husband have two daughters, Lucy and Abbie. She enjoys pilates, walking around the lakes and watching her girls in their many endeavors. She feels honored to work with both Abbie and Pia for such a worthy cause and is in awe of how they have both handled their respective health challenges.
Chief Champion Officer
Steph is the executive director of PAB’S PACKS. She has a background in education, nonprofit management and operations, and youth leadership. Passionate about cultivating community and developing new ideas into strategic plans, Steph leads our Teen Ambassador Board and has used her background to craft our custom teen leadership curriculum and service-learning program. A Teach For America alum, she holds a M.A. in Teaching from Marian University and a M.Div. from Bethel Seminary. She is also an avid photographer and outdoor enthusiast.
Chief Community Officer
Melissa is our volunteer and community coordinator, managing all hospital and volunteer partnerships. She has a background in psychology and at-risk child and youth care. In addition to her work at PAB’S PACKS, she is a Certified Child Life Specialist at Children’s Minnesota where she strives to ensure coping and positive development for children and teens in the hospital. Melissa enjoys being active - kayaking, pilates - and loves to hand-craft cards.