Feisty, fun-loving, and full of friendship for everyone she met, Nicole “Nikki” Wilhelm was a joy and a blessing to all who knew her. Born with Down Syndrome, Nikki experienced physical and intellectual delays during the nineteen years that she was on this earth; however, she faced her challenges with a “joie de vivre” that was inspiring to those around her. Her infectious smile in the face of her adversities made her a friend to all, and she never met a person she did not like. Nikki enjoyed playing with her sisters, her brother, neighbors, cousins, and friends, and her favorite pastimes were swimming at the Brookville Pool and going to movies at the Brookville Theater with special friends Tara, Wendy, and Angie.
The young girl with the big heart passed away – ironically – from heart failure at the age of 19, over 23 years ago. She is still sorely missed by her family and friends, but her spirit is felt and lingers on to this day.
Her family has started the Nicole “Nikki” Wilhelm Endowment in order to assist children like Nikki live life to the fullest and have the opportunities that she enjoyed while she was alive. The endowment has been set up to grant financial assistance to organizations including, but not limited to, the Franklin County Special Olympics and the Unified Sports Program for high school students of Franklin County. These programs, and others like them, help children and adults with disabilities gain acceptance in their communities, while at the same time helping them to keep their minds and bodies active, thus ensuring an enriched lifetime experience.
The donor advised grant endowment will be administered through the Franklin County Community Foundation, with the Wilhelm Family directing the yearly awarding of funds.