Elizabeth Gerlach is a mom, fundraiser, marketer and now children's book author. She was inspired to develop the Ben's Adventures book after her triplet son Benjamin passed away at the young age of 3. Ben had cerebral palsy and significant needs. Elizabeth felt it important to convey the core message that kids are kids first and all can play and dream. Despite medical or physical differences, all kids are able to play, interact, pretend, engage and have meaningful relationships.
Elizabeth spent 20 years in various marketing and advertising positions in agencies and client environments. She became a stay-at-home mom when she and husband Rob had triplets in 2012. Ten months after the kids were born, Benjamin was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy and later epilepsy. He also required a feeding tube and breathing assistance - it was evident from early on he was going to need specialized care for the rest of his life.
Elizabeth and Rob established the Ben Smiles Memorial Foundation in spring of 2017 at the one year mark of Ben's death. Ben Smiles' mission is to gift accessible toys, switches and other small devices to kids like Ben was and to families like theirs. These items can be very expensive and many times are not covered by insurance. But ALL kids need to play to learn and develop.
Ben had a challenging life but continued to smile about the simple things - the sun on his face, loud noises, tickles from mom, at his brother & sister, when he was up on his feet. They hope the foundation's gifts can bring smiles to kids' faces.
Elizabeth, a true southerner at heart, is originally from Virginia, but currently lives outside of Chicago with her husband and Ben's triplet brother and sister. She has a B.A from Virginia Tech and an M.B.A. from Old Dominion University.