Founder’s Story

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAM0AAAAJDg4MzcyMjJhLTk0ODgtNDAyZS1hMGRhLTJiYzRiZTE2MWI0MwFrom Danielle E. Olson – Founder, President & CEO:

I thought the easiest way to explain the story behind The Lisa Michelle Memorial Fund is to tell you about my personal experience.

For as long as I can remember, my mom was addicted to prescription medication. Her addiction got so bad that, by the time I was a senior in high school, she had checked herself into the mental ward of our local hospital and put herself on suicide watch. During this time, my stepdad and I took shifts watching my youngest sister, who is 15 years younger than me. He’d watch her while I was at school and I’d watch her when I got home. Unfortunately, the time she spent trying to get better was lost and she went right back to her old ways.

My relationship was very rocky with my mom. I desperately wanted her to get better, but couldn’t seem to motivate her to take the necessary steps to do so. Then on September 20, 2008, while I was a sophomore at Woodbury University, I was told that my mom passed away due to prolonged use of prescription drugs. This was one of the most devastating days of mine and my sibling’s lives. My youngest sister was only four years old at the time.

I can’t begin to describe how difficult it was for me my sophomore year, but somehow I got through it with the help of family, friends, and my University.

I will say, that even though my mom had problems, she was a loving mother.  She would never go a day without saying she loved us and always supported everything we wanted to do.  I could have told her I wanted to build a spaceship and she would have been cheering me on from the sidelines.

She hung our report cards on the fridge, would show off our A+ papers, and would help us with homework.  When I was in the 5th grade she stayed up all night helping me with my California Mission project.

I know that she wanted more for us than what she was able to give and she knew that her children would go on to do great things.  Her belief in us is part of the reason why I push myself for more.

The Lisa Michelle Memorial Fund has been a dream of mine for a long time and I’m in a place where I can finally make that dream a reality. I hope that we can provide as much support as we can to students who have also lost a parent to substance abuse and in some way help them cope with their loss.

As a final note, none of this would be possible without your support, so thank you from The LMM Fund team!


Danielle E. Olson

Founder, President & CEO