This March at Small-Minded has been all about badass women, and I couldn’t let the month pass without inviting my friend and sister-in-law, Amanda Schlemme, to the podcast.
We’re both “old” now as we joke throughout the podcast, but back in the late 00s as I was in college and first dating my now-husband, his sister Amanda was living a fabulous big-city life in the Twin Cities (Minnesota). She did the whole high-heels-every-day, great Banana Republic outfits, CPA thing, and loved it. And I loved when we could get up there and visit! Amanda has always been such a role model to me, but as we’ve grown older and wiser, I admire her more and more every passing day.
Our family has been through some STUFF to say the least, and as a result by the early 2010s Amanda, her husband Travis, and their family moved back to Cascade, our hometown. We are SO grateful to have her here, for a wealth of reasons:
First off, she’s my accountant- and she is brilliant. She keeps me on top of my Quickbooks (thank God), organizes SO MANY freakin’ forms for me, and fields all of my “what does this mean?” questions about numbers and government agencies.
Okay, so having a CPA for a close friend is AWESOME, but that is just a small part of this amazing woman.
Amanda is a Swiss army knife, listeners. She’s a key part of the family farm, she and her husband own and operate the local tavern and eatery, she chairs the board of the one of the coolest camps ever, and her efforts over the years have contributed to the community in such a big way.
We could have talked about a million things in this episode, but oops! We ended up spending almost the whole episode on just one particular part of her life, which happens to be my personal favorite thing about Amanda – how dedicated she is as a mom. She has two incredible sons earthside, one of whom has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). At just 14 months old back in 2009, Amanda’s son Colin was diagnosed with SMA type 2. This diagnosis not only dramatically altered the trajectory of Amanda’s life, but it allowed her to take on big things that have a lasting ripple effect for hundreds of families of SMA.
I will definitely need Amanda back for a Part 2 because I just know you will LOVE this episode, my friends.
- After college at University of Northern Iowa Amanda worked as a CPA in the Twin Cities. It was a bit of a culture shock but they carved out a little space in the city and made friends that became family. Amanda loved learning about how different companies worked.
- Amanda is the mom to two boys: Eli and Colin. Colin had an appointment with a neurologist when he missed some milestones by 15 months old. He was diagnosed with SMA, which at that time, had no cure or treatment. She was told he would never walk, and to not look at the Internet for additional information. She made it two days before she deep-dived online, learning everything she possibly could. She has been such an amazing advocate for Colin, and SMA, ever since.
- The family made the move back to Cascade where Amanda works with the family farm and businesses including Bale Barn and Two Gingers Tavern and Eatery.
- Amanda chairs the board at Camp Courageous in Monticello, Iowa. They offer year-round camps and respite care for people with disabilities. Colin looks forward to MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) Camp every year and has been going since he was six. He gets to zip line, hike, swim, ride the train, and more, with the assistance of Camp and his amazing counselors.
- Amanda has brought our community together to raise tens of thousands of dollars for Cure SMA through Small Heroes, Mighty Cause. Since Colin’s diagnosis, there are now three options for SMA treatment.
- Colin is an amazing old soul who loves coffee, gambling, and ESPN. He loves all sports, especially baseball, is very observant, and a great listener. He had a major spinal surgery last year but has recovered well and is in good health today.
- We’re so grateful to have Amanda and family back in Cascade! We definitely need her back on the podcast for a Part 2!
Connect with Amanda
Amanda has so much going on! She is the board chair at Camp Courageous, organizes Small Heroes, Mighty Cause, and is involved in the family businesses Two Gingers Tavern and Eatery and Bale Barn.
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