Abby returns with Army

Little Hearts Big Smiles run/walk is Saturday

News Journal

Abby Achtermann is recruiting to lead her Army on Saturday.

Courtesy photo

Editor’s Note: Little Hearts Big Smiles, which has been helping Clinton Countians for more than 10 years as a supportive outlet for families raising special needs children, will host its annual 5K and fun run on May 20.

All proceeds will go to benefit Phase 4 of the Little Hearts Big Smiles Playground on Fife Avenue in Wilmington, which includes the addition of handi-accessible restrooms for children and families.

This year, Little Hearts Big Smiles is rallying participants to show support by joining one of six teams led by a captain: Andrew’s Army; Brei’s Brigade;Team Paxton and Irene; Gracie’s Squad; Team Braydyn; and Abby’s Army.

For six days leading up to the event, the News Journal is profiling the team captains. This is the fifth profile. More information on the event follows the story.

Abby Kate Achtermann loves playing with her big sister and spending time with her family and friends. She attends the Perlman Center in Mason, where she loves to paint, interact with books, and drive her switch-activated car.

Abby is the 2-year-old daughter of Brent and Brooke Achtermann of Wilmington, and the adored little sister of Elaina Achtermann. Shortly after her birth, Abby was diagnosed with the rare chromosome disorder of 18 q deletion and trisomy 9.

Her condition has presented medical issues such has hearing loss, cardiac anomalies, and growth and developmental delays. Abby is also feeding tube-dependent and has a VP shunt to assist with the draining of spinal fluid.

Even though Abby has all these struggles, she is a happy little girl.

This will be the second year that Abby has participated in the Little Hearts Big Smiles 5K walk and run. Last year she had around 70 participants come out and be a part of Abby’s Army.

Abby is also involved in the organization “I Run 4 Michael” where she is paired up with a runner from New Hampshire. Abby’s runner actually made the nine-hour drive to join her for last year’s race.

Abby also likes to collect race medals and bibs for those that dedicate their runs to her.

She is looking forward to the 5K on Saturday and hopes you will come out and support a great cause.

About the event

The Little Hearts Big Smiles 5K is a walk-or-run event with prizes going to the top-three finishers for both male and female.

All of the teams will have a specialty shirt made for the 5K; however, joining a team is not a requirement to participate. Check-in begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 20 at 1400 Fife Ave. with the 5K starting at 9 a.m. Registration is open to sign up for the 5K.

Little Hearts Big Smiles thanks Vital Fitness, Pittser Family Eyecare and Wilmington Savings Bank for supporting the 5K.

To find out more about these events, and for more information about Little Heart Smiles Big Smiles, visit or find them on Facebook.

Abby Achtermann is recruiting to lead her Army on Saturday. Achtermann is recruiting to lead her Army on Saturday. Courtesy photo
Little Hearts Big Smiles run/walk is Saturday

News Journal