Rachel & Andy Lee – Founders

Rachel and Andy Lee are the co-founders of Madelyn’s Fund. They met just after Andy graduated from the University of Pittsburgh while Rachel was a student at Clemson University. The couple married in 2007 and split their time between Greenville, SC and San Jose, CA while Andy played football for the San Francisco 49ers for 11 seasons. In the spring of 2015, he was traded and played one season each with the Cleveland Browns and the Carolina Panthers. He is currently playing for the Arizona Cardinals. They permanently settled in Charlotte in 2013 with their two boys Ryan and Adam. Rachel enjoys shopping and dining at local spots in Charlotte, Bible study, and supporting and attending other philanthropic events. During the off season you can find Andy on the golf course at Charlotte Country Club or cheering on his boys at their sporting events. Both enjoy volunteering at Charlotte Country Day School where their boys attend and are members at Forest Hill Church.


Madelyn, their daughter who was born in 2015, spent 8 days in the NICU before she passed away after complications with an infection. “We created Madelyn’s Fund to honor our daughter’s memory by assisting families in similar situations. If we had not experienced a NICU stay or the loss of our daughter, we would not have known the struggles so many families face. By taking away some of that burden we are supporting families in crisis and blessing them with the ability to focus on their child. Being able to pay for the cost of funeral related expenses is something especially meaningful to us. We never knew how expensive funerals could be since we never considered having to bury a child. No one does. To be able to help a family properly memorialize their child who could otherwise not afford it is a gift we are honored to be able provide through Madelyn’s Fund.


Beyond that, we are a lifeline to families who experience a NICU stay and are able to help so quickly during extremely stressful times. We are so thankful to everyone who has supported us through our loss and now through Madelyn’s Fund.”

Nicole Sodoma

Nicole Sodoma has lived in Charlotte since 2000 with the exception of 18 months when she lived in Seattle. She attended College of Charleston and Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.


Nicole has three sons – Shepard, Maddix, and Bauer. Shep and Maddix both experienced time in the NICU. Her middle son, Shepard, lived in the NICU for 8 long weeks when he couldn’t breathe. We had no idea how sick he was and how hard his nurses worked and loved him until we had another baby boy, Maddix, who also lived in the NICU but didn’t need nearly the help that Shep needed. His stay was only 6 weeks. They both arrived when she was 32 weeks pregnant and wholly unprepared. But, unlike Madelyn, they both were able to come home and are now 9 and 12. Her three-boy family was complete, and her heart remains full. She says “I had big plans and ideas for how I could make a difference in the NICU because of what I experienced and what I witnessed of other parents who were also spending time praying and hoping for the best possible outcomes for their own children. Regrettably, three boys and a busy law practice, I let life get in the way of my intentions. Rachel and Andy did not let life get in the way of their purpose so it is an honor to help them serve in this organization that supports NICU patients and families.”


As a NICU mom of two out of my three sons, participating on the Madelyn’s Fund Board is particularly special to Nicole. “I learned quickly that the experience as a parent whose child is in the NICU is truly unique to that parent and family. Joining the board was a way for me to give back for those who supported my family. My goal is to raise awareness but also to make conversations around NICU experiences more hopeful and comfortable. NICU experiences with newborns in particular change whatever expectations you may have had in becoming a parent. Every effort to raise funds to support these families and give them hope is a priority for my participation on the board of Madelyn’s Fund. This organization makes a direct impact on families who are in the trenches. They work with experienced support systems and provide resources to parents who are in need. It can be as simple as a gas card and warm meal to car seats and glass bottles that their hospital may not provide” Nicole shared.


Nicole is an exercise junkie and tries to add fitness into her routine as often as possible – whether it is yoga, Pilates, biking, running or active meditation. Otherwise, you can find her at her law practice Sodoma Law. When she opened the doors of Sodoma Law in 2008, she was eager to build a team who would help every client navigate the hurdles of separation and divorce with empathy and determination – in and out of court. She wanted to surround herself with people who live and breathe family law like she does. Her practice is her passion; it not just her job, rather who she is. Outside of work, Nicole enjoys reading or writing about how to empower others through their own personal or professional journeys.

Bethany Michael

Bethany currently works at UserTesting as a Regional Sales Director. She is a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago where she studied Marketing with a concentration in Sales. After graduating college, she worked for 15 years as a National Sales Executive for Careerbuilder.com selling advertising and human capital software. Bethany has also worked for Zoom Video Communications, selling video collaboration software for 2 years.


Originally born and raised in Iowa, Bethany moved from Chicago to Charlotte in 2006 with her husband Andy. They share five children: Scarlett (11), Piper (8), Teddi (7), and twins Eliza and Oliver (4) and are active members at Myers Park Presbyterian Church. In her spare time, Bethany enjoys playing tennis, Barre training, and volunteers as a Sunday school teacher at her church.


Bethany first learned of Madelyn’s Fund while attending the Pink Bow Gala when she was 22 weeks pregnant with her twins. Knowing her pregnancy was higher risk and there was a greater chance her babies may need to spend time in the NICU, she was very sensitive to the information and stories that were shared during the event. She was moved by the help Madelyn’s Fund provided to families in need and was especially inspired by the Lee family in how they created such light through Madelyn’s Fund during their greatest moment of darkness.


Bethany’s goal as Board Member is to bring awareness to the everyday hardships a NICU stay can have on an entire family. Through sponsors and donations, she believes the Fund can make a real difference in lessening the burden of these challenges and let families focus on their child(ren) while they are in the NICU.

Abby Cenfetelli

Originally from Herkimer New York, Abby attended the United States Military Academy where she earned her commission in the US Army. After serving as an officer in the Army, she was employed by Target Corporation for 17 years, ultimately obtaining the position of Group Vice President.  Abby is also a former Board Member of the Second Harvest Foodbank of Metrolina. She has resided in Charlotte for 7 years and shares 1-year-old son Jonny with her husband Zach. Abby and her husband enjoy traveling to the mountains, hiking, spending time with extended family, and their goldendoodle, Lily.


In October of 2019, Abby and Zach were introduced to Madelyn’s Fund when their daughter Zoey, who was born at 32 weeks, passed away after a 14-day NICU hospitalization. Madelyn’s Fund offered support and covered Zoey’s funeral expenses. Inspired by this gesture, Abby was motivated to serve similar families in need, both during and after their NICU stay.


As a Board Member, Abby’s objective is to fully support the mission, vision and goals of Madelyn’s Fund by leveraging her many years of team leadership and experience as a NICU parent while collaborating with other Board members, social workers, and families associated with the Fund. Abby feels the most important way Madelyn’s Fund supports the community in addition to the financial assistance it provides, is the empathy shown for NICU families who experience infant loss.

Chuck Engstrom, MD

Chuck lived on Long Island, NY until 18 years of age, moved to North Carolina to attend Wake Forest University (’79 BA Chemistry), then attended Wake Forest School of Medicine (MD ’83). He completed his residency in Pediatrics at North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem in 1986 and fellowship training in Neonatology at UAB in Birmingham, AL in 1989. After working on the faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina for three years he moved to Charlotte to work in the NICU at what is now called Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital. Chuck was on the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics for 30 years and recently retired in April of 2022. He continues to use his teaching gifts as an Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at Levine Children’s Hospital and serves as an Elder on the Session of Threshold Church (EPC) in Weddington, NC.


Chuck and his wife Laurie, a former NICU and school nurse, share two sons, Paul and Elliot in addition to their grandchildren, and will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in June of 2023. He remains an avid sports enthusiast, having been a loyal fan of the NY Mets since 1965, and the Carolina Panthers. 


When asked why he joined the Board, he explained most people have never had an infant in the NICU and as a result don’t understand the mental, emotional and financial stress that is placed on these families. After years of ministering to families in the NICU setting, joining the Board of Madelyn’s Fund enables Chuck to continue serving and helping meet the needs of families during one of the most stressful seasons of their lives. As a Board member, Chuck plans to serve as a vital link between the medical community (MD, RN, AAP, MSW) and Madelyn’s Fund by providing updates on the many ways Madelyn’s Fund assists local NICU’s and Cardiac ICU’s in the Charlotte region and by soliciting support from the medical community through financial donations and encouraging attendance at local events. 


When asked what he felt is the most important way Madelyn’s Fund supports our community, he stated we are living in a very stressful environment having come through a pandemic and continue to live in challenging financial times. Imagine dealing with the stress of having an infant with a serious medical condition in the NICU on top of handling these other societal stressors. So many families feel overwhelmed not knowing how to make ends meet. Many times they don’t have the resources to visit their sick infants and other times they cannot afford the dignity of a funeral for their precious infants’ who have passed. These are all situations where Madelyn’s Fund has reached out to provide the compassionate support so many families desperately need. Families who feel alone and overwhelmed are shown the love and care they need. Madelyn’s Fund is an asset to the Charlotte Community.

Alston Mann

Alston is currently the VP/GM of Commercial & Security at Snap One, a manufacturer and distributor of smart solutions for homes and businesses. After graduating from UNC- Chapel Hill, Alston began his career in finance, working for BlackRock and Jefferies prior to attending business school at UVA’s Darden School of Business. He then spent nearly eight years with the Boston Consulting Group in BCG’s Retail and Consumer practice areas before serving two years as Sr. Director of Enterprise Strategy at Lowe’s Companies, where he was responsible for supporting key strategic growth initiatives across the company.


Alston has lived in Charlotte for over eight years with his wife Jessie, with whom he shares three young children. Their oldest daughter, Haynes, was born at 33 weeks and spent nearly 6 weeks in the NICU at Levine Children’s Hospital in 2017. Alston and Jessie’s experience in the NICU inspired them to get involved with Madelyn’s Fund and gave them the opportunity to help other families who might not have had the same support they did when navigating the NICU experience. Alston hopes his experience in corporate development and strategy will shape the vision and goals of Madelyn’s Fund so it can provide long-standing support to the NICU community in Charlotte and beyond.


When asked what he feels is the most important way Madelyn’s Fund supports our community, Alston says “being able to be close to your child when they are their most vulnerable is critical for the mental health of NICU parents and family. I believe enabling family to be more present during their child’s NICU stay has the ability to decrease the length of time of that stay” and the impact that presence has on the family will last far longer than the hospital stay itself.”

Elizabeth Hill

Elizabeth is currently a managing director in Wells Fargo’s Corporate and Investment Bank. Originally from Richmond, VA, she graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Commerce. She moved to Charlotte in 2018 after spending 11 years in New York City working in finance at Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.


Elizabeth and her husband Zach have 3-year-old twin daughters, Henley and Charlotte, who were born four weeks early. Charlotte spent 8 days in the NICU in New York. Their baby Grace was born in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic in the summer of 2020.


Outside of work, Elizabeth and Zach enjoy traveling and spending time with their family. They are active members of Christ Episcopal Church, where their twins also attend preschool.


When asked why Elizabeth joined the Board, she said: “Even with our brief NICU stay with Charlotte, it was a challenging time for our family, and we experienced first-hand the emotional difficulty that goes along with it. I am passionate about devoting my time to help ease the burden for other families facing NICU stays that may not be as fortunate as ours.”

Zoë Maurer

Zoë, a Connecticut native, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut (go Huskies!). She began her career at a local marketing agency before relocating to the DC metro area, where she honed her expertise in marketing strategy for brands, political campaigns, and causes, empowering clients to engage with their audiences and achieve their goals. 


After becoming a mom, Zoë transitioned from the fast-paced agency environment to an in-house marketing role at an early childhood education publisher. Today, she leverages her experience to consult for impact-driven businesses and organizations specializing in building strong brands, establishing frameworks for marketing success, fostering strategic partnerships, and driven by her creativity and passion for helping others.


In 2015, Zoë and her husband, Chris, were shocked when their baby arrived prematurely at just 28 weeks, weighing 2 lbs 7 oz and measuring 14 inches. The following 92-day NICU stay was a life-altering experience that deeply touched their hearts. Grateful for the positive outcome, and now the parents of two healthy girls, Izzy and Isla Rose, Zoë and Chris are committed to supporting other NICU families recognizing the profound impact such traumatic experiences can have.


Soon after relocating to cozy Fort Mill, SC in 2021, Zoë was introduced to Madelyn’s Fund by a friend. Eager to contribute, she connected with cofounder Rachel Lee and joined the Pink Bow Gala event committee. This annual fundraising event quickly became one of the highlights of her year!


Zoë’s personal NICU journey fuels her dedication to Madelyn’s Fund’s mission motivating her to join the board of directors as the Marketing Chair in March of 2024. Her focus is to elevate the organization’s brand awareness, extend its community reach, and bolster fundraising campaigns. She recognizes the critical role of financial support provided by Madelyn’s Fund for local NICU families, driving her commitment to these initiatives.

Kristina Fons

Kristina grew up in Texas and Wisconsin before moving to North Carolina in college, where she obtained an associate degree in Nursing from Carolina’s College of Health Science, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Winston Salem State University, and a Masters Degree in Nursing-Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program from East Carolina University. For 9 years she was a bedside nurse in the NICU at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center before she became a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.


When asked about why Kristina joined the board, she said: “When approached by Rachel and Andy to become a sitting Board Member, there was no doubt that this is something I wanted to officially be a part of. I first met Rachel and Andy at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center as I was the NICU nurse at Madelyn’s delivery. After meeting them and guiding them through the initial shock of Madelyn’s NICU stay, I quickly developed a close relationship with them. I became one of Madelyn’s primary nurses to help provide consistent care for not only Madelyn but also Rachel and Andy as because of the time of the year, no other family or friends were allowed to visit due to restrictions. What was once thought to be a brief stay in the NICU turned into one of the most tragic times for the Lee family. Being able to be a familiar face during their NICU journey and beyond the NICU has always given me peace knowing I have helped them get through some really tough moments. I’ll never forget when Rachel and I had breakfast one morning and she mentioned that she and Andy wanted to start a foundation in Madelyn’s honor to help other NICU families who are facing unforeseeable and sometimes devastating circumstances during their NICU journey. Seeing the foundation grow from an idea to where it is today has been one of the most rewarding things that I have ever been able to be a part of. From speaking at the initial Madelyn’s Fund Founding Event, the Inaugural Pink Bow Gala, 2021 Celebrity Golf Tournament, and helping coordinate nurses every year to volunteer for events, being an official Board Member is the next best thing in my journey with the foundation. I can’t wait to continue watching how Madelyn’s Fund positively impacts our NICU community.”


Outside of work, Kristina treasures spending time with her family, especially after the loss of her father in 2014. She enjoys trying local establishments, attending concerts, and being on the lake with her friends and boyfriend, and cheering on her Green Bay Packers. She is also an active member of the Teal Fitness, a gym owned by a family who had premature twin girls who required a NICU stay and received help through Madelyn’s Fund. The Teal family now holds Ellie and Zoe’s run every year to raise awareness about NICU and raise money for Madelyn’s Fund.

Mujaahadeanah Pohlheber

Mujaa was born and raised in Charlotte, NC before attending East Carolina University where she graduated with a Bachelors in Biology, Psychology, and Nursing. After graduating, Mujaa moved back to Charlotte where she has served as a Med-Surg, Labor & Delivery, & NICU Nurse. Mujaa has served as a NICU Nurse for 7 years now, beginning at Atrium Health and now serving at Novant Health.

Mujaa and her husband Joe have three children, Liliana, Liam, and Ivy. In her free time, Mujaa writes for the Charlotte Moms Collective where she helps moms have a central location for resources in the Charlotte area. Her hobbies include playing tennis, playing guitar, working out at RockBox, cooking, traveling, spending time with her kids, and trying new restaurants. Mujaa is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and in her free time enjoys volunteering with her sisters, being involved and volunteering with several Health Home agencies as well as Thales Academy where her children attend. Mujaa and her family are also active members of Saint Matthews Catholic Church.

Mujaa now serves on Madelyn’s Fund Board as our Community Partnerships Chair. She hopes that in this role she can encourage the community to provide assistance to NICU parents in one of the most stressful times of their lives and contribute to our founding vision to be a resource for families needing comfort and financial assistance. When asked about joining the Board, she said: “I see first hand, as a NICU nurse, how Madelyn’s Fund helps families in need. When seeing NICU parents at their most vulnerable, mentioning Madelyn’s Fund gives an ease to their stay. Noticing family members not having transportation to see their baby or too stressed to eat, I mention Madelyn’s Fund.”


Sarah Turza

Sarah Turza joined Madelyn’s Fund in the fall of 2018 as the Program Manager. She grew up in the Charlotte area and graduated from Charlotte Catholic High School prior to completing her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte in Psychology and Early Childhood and Family Development. There she earned her Birth – Kindergarten licensure along with her North Carolina Infant-Toddler Specialist credential. Over the past 14 years she has served as an Early Intervention Child and Family Specialist for the Piedmont region of North Carolina, worked as a Family and Developmental Specialist in the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery at Levine Children’s Hospital, and as a NICU case manager and Developmental Specialist for Mecklenburg County Children’s Services Agency. All of these roles afforded her the opportunity to work closely with families who have children with special medical needs, many of whom experienced lengthy NICU hospitalizations.


Prior to giving her time to Madelyn’s Fund, she served 4 years on the Board of the Charlotte chapter of the Family Support Network, serving as Board Chair for her final term. Efforts were focused on providing parent and sibling support for families who have a child with special medical and developmental needs. The biggest priority focused on linking families who have shared experiences and wish to provide emotional support and guidance to families that are earlier in their journey of learning about a particular medical/developmental diagnosis their child has received, how this might impact their child’s trajectory as well as helping them navigate what resources might be available in the community.


Working with the NICU population has always been a strong passion of Sarah’s, whether it is helping families learn to navigate a NICU stay, providing emotional support during the up’s and down’s many families experience in the NICU, or working with families after the transition home and beyond.


On her role with Madelyn’s Fund she says, “This gives me the opportunity to share all of what I have learned from my families and use their experiences to highlight where the greatest areas of need are in our community, and as a fund, how we might be able to fill those voids. Madelyn’s Fund is a unique community resource which strives to alleviate some of the financial stressors that can accompany a NICU hospitalization as well as increase community awareness of the toll an extended hospitalization can have on a family unit. Many families miss time away from work to be present and involved in their child’s medical care which can interfere with their ability to maintain basic household needs such as utilities, etc. and leads to additional expenses such as the cost of traveling up to 2-hours one way to be with their child. As part of the Madelyn’s Fund team, my goal is to continue building and strengthening our working relationships with local NICU Social Workers who are key in identifying families in need of financial support; whether it pertains to maintaining their household during a hospital stay or having the necessary means to be able to honor and celebrate their child’s life in the event they are unable to join their family at home.”


Outside of Madelyn’s Fund Sarah says, “I’m fortunate to have my mother and sister close and am enjoying being a first-time aunt to my little niece!”

Stefanie Lippard

Stefanie was born and raised in Columbia, SC and moved to Charlotte in June 2022. She is a graduate of Clemson University where she majored in Marketing through the College of Business. In college she was very involved as VP-Community Service in her sorority, Kappa Delta. This role introduced her to how to connect her marketing background to working in fundraising and showed her the passion she has for working in this area.


Stefanie says, “Madelyn’s Fund holds a very special place in my heart. My freshman year of high school (January 2015), my sister Rachel and brother-in-law Andy welcomed their daughter Madelyn. I will never forget coming home from school and being told Madelyn had passed away after 8 days in the NICU. It was truly the hardest day of my life and some of the toughest times. However, even though I never got to meet Madelyn in her 8 short days of life, the impact she has had on my life has been tremendous. Seeing Rachel and Andy create Madelyn’s Fund in her memory and seeing the impact it has had on so many people has truly been one of the biggest pride points in my life.”


“With the personal connection I have to Madelyn’s Fund, it was a no brainer to take on the role of Fundraising Director and it truly has been a dream job to help support this mission. I’ve always been so proud of the work Madelyn’s Fund does and to be able to be involved in this role really allows me to take the passion I have for the mission and turn it into something I get to work on making a difference for every day.”


In her role as Fundraising Director, Stefanie really wants to be able to diversify fundraising to more than just events. With writing grants, working on campaigns, developing community partnerships in Charlotte and beyond, and exploring different avenues and channels to fundraise, she hopes to increase awareness and raise more funds be able to provide assistance to every NICU family in need of assistance. “Seeing the growth we’ve had in recent years and being able to take that growth even further is something I’m excited about and motivated to see happen.


Through seeing Madelyn’s Fund grow over the years since the beginning to now working on the team, I’ve really been able to see just how important the work we do is to the families we assist. Hearing from families on how hard it is to go home without their baby and how Madelyn’s Fund made the difference for them to be able to be near their child is really so rewarding to hear. Hearing families speak about how Madelyn’s Fund allowed them to be able to honor their child who passed away has truly put into context how important the work we do is to families”.


When not working, Stefanie is a huge Clemson fan and loves cheering on the Tigers and at football games, enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends, working out, and is still involved with her home church, Eastminster Presbyterian.