The story of Marklund is one of unconditional love, selflessness and hope. Marklund was founded when Claire Haverkampf, RN, began to provide foster care to Mark William Lund, a little boy born with Down Syndrome and severe cardiac complications. Five days after his birth on December 21, 1954, at Elmhurst Hospital, Mark William Lund came to live with Claire and her husband Stan and their two children in their Northlake home. Here, Mark was cared for as a member of the family.
Word of the Haverkampf’s selflessness spread and soon they opened their expanded home to more children with developmental disabilities. As the “family” grew, so did their need for physical space. They moved to a larger home in Bloomingdale where Marklund was formed.
The Haverkampfs were visionaries. They saw the real need for a place where infants, children and adults with developmental disabilities could find a full life experience.
In October, 2016, Marklund acquired the Little Angels Center for Exceptional Care organization in Elgin. The two centers shared similar histories, with Little Angels being founded in 1958 by Pat and Bob Wasmond.
Pat Wasmond, a registered nurse and mother, was working in a local doctor’s office. This doctor had a child who had severe disabilities, requiring 24-hour care. Her family had difficulty managing this challenging situation. Pat offered her assistance and the child came to live with Pat, Bob and their children.
Word spread in the Elgin area of this exceptional family and the wonderful care this child was receiving. Soon the Wasmonds began receiving calls from other families seeking this kind of help. It became evident to Pat there was a vital call for this type of care in the Elgin area. She and her husband decided to create a home for children with profound disabilities and Little Angels was founded. Over the past 60+ years, Little Angels–now called the Marklund Wasmond Center–grew to where it now is home to 57 residents, and includes an adjacent Developmental Training Center.
Beginning with two children, and two homes, and having a solid foundation and foresight, Marklund has grown into eight homes where hundreds are impacted by many caring staff and volunteers, in many different sites in DuPage, Kane and Cook counties. As started by our founders, we continue to serve individuals with severe and profound developmental disabilities through 24-hour nursing care, and a full range of therapeutic and educational programs.
More than four years after its merger with Little Angels Center for Exceptional Care, Marklund is showing that bigger is truly better. “A lot of hard work has gone into the transition over the past year to make us “ONE” organization; we truly are stronger together,” noted Gil Fonger, President and CEO.
Since the merger, the Marklund Wasmond Center has reaped the rewards of being part of an expanded company.
Combined, our 500+ full and part time staff now make everyday life possible for more than 250 residents, community clients and students. “This could not have happened without the strong, dedicated, mission-driven staff and Board of Directors that Marklund is blessed to have,” said Fonger. “I am grateful to our founders – Claire & Stan Haverkampf (Marklund) and Pat & Bob Wasmond (Little Angels) – for what they started over 65 years ago, as well as our administrative, direct care and support teams for what they continue to do today.”