The mission of the Miracle League of Plymouth is to enrich our community by providing education and social development through high quality recreation programs, including baseball, for individuals with special needs and their families. As well to foster peer relationships through players and “buddy” interactions so that barriers to friendship are removed.
Miracle League of Plymouth is a registered non-profit organization under the 501(c)(3) Internal Revenue Code
Amanda became involved with Miracle League through her parents, Bob and Shari Bilkie. After she attended games with them as a fan and acting as a buddy, Amanda was asked to join the board. She is proud to work with such a wonderful organization. Amanda lives in Northville with her husband and two daughters (who you might see at the field with her or her parents) When she is not at Miracle League or working, Amanda enjoys traveling, reading, running and watching U of M football.
Miguel has almost always been on the sidelines of the Miracle League since his younger brother Carlos joined the league back in 2011. Miguel spent his high school years working on his robotics team, earning Eagle Scout, singing in his choir, and fighting to stay seizure free despite his epilepsy. Following his graduation from Franklin High School amidst the pandemic and as he stepped into college at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, he looked to put his skills into practice. Becoming an Epilepsy Ambassador for the Epilepsy Foundation and starting to volunteer for MLP as the world started to open up a little. Miguel is happy to officially join the team if you see him around the field be sure to say hi.
Natalie first became involved with the Miracle League of Plymouth in 2011 while a junior at Salem High School. Her love of baseball and affinity for helping individuals with special needs (inspired by her sweet cousin Elizabeth) was well known. She attended the University of Pittsburgh and helped MLP during college summers spent at home in Plymouth. Natalie has lived in Pittsburgh since 2016 but is excited to be moving back to metro Detroit with her husband and two cats this spring. She loves black iced coffee, Yoga with Adriene videos, reading, London and trying new restaurants.
Deb's connection with the Miracle League of Plymouth was before our prettiest little ball field even existed. She planned our league long before any ground was broken. For the past ten years, she has served as President and Commissioner for the MLP. Recently, she passed the torch as President to her son, Mark Madonna, and couldn't be prouder to do so. This has and will continue to be a happy place for her filled with the best baseball players, fans, and volunteers. Deb still serves as MLP Commissioner and a voting member of our board. She will continue to take in games, cheer, and high five every player she sees. If it is her choice, she'd prefer to be “Commissioner of Play and Good Cheer. Together during Good Times and Difficult Times”. Deb is grateful to serve MLP and see her vision come to life. Deb is also the author of "A Teeny Broken Blood Vessel", where she writes of her experiences after suffering a stroke. More information about her can be found at debramadonna.com
Sam Plymale first got involved with the Miracle League of Plymouth in 2012 while completing his undergrad program at Eastern Michigan University. After many years serving as a volunteer, Sam worked as the Game Day Operations Manager from 2018-2021. Sam has filled in as the MLP announcer on many occasions and is often seen behind the plate umpiring games. Sam's favorite thing about the Miracle League is seeing the positive interactions between players and buddies. Sam works as the Downtown Manager at the City of Plymouth and is constantly looking at new ways to make Downtown Plymouth a better place to live, work and play. Sam lives in Livonia with his wife and daughter. While not spending time with family or working with MLP or DTP, Sam can be found on a local golf course or watching the Wolverines, Red Wings, Tigers, Lions and Pistons.
Shari is a member of the Board of Directors of the Miracle League of Plymouth and serves as the league’s secretary. Her love for children and passion for sports is the driving force behind her involvement with the league. Her favorite part of the game day experience is at the beginning of every game when each players’ name is announced. The smiles that spread across their faces as they are brought out onto the field to the cheers of their adoring fans is priceless. Shari is currently employed at Sigma Investment Counselors in Northville and serves as the firm’s President and Chief Compliance Officer. In her spare time, she enjoys bike riding, hiking, paddle boarding and rock climbing among other outdoor activities.
Mark became involved with Miracle League because his mother asked him if he wanted to help, ten years later, he stays involved because game days are so much fun. Mark's favorite thing about Miracle League is seeing the progress the players make throughout the season and watching them become better hitters than he is. The Miracle League field has always been a special place, and as President, he plans on keeping it that way for the buddies, the people in the concession stand, the fans in the stands, and most importantly, the players. He aspires to do what his mother and MLP Founder Deb Madonna did as President. He works in Sales Operations at Panther Labs.
Baseball diamonds weren't exactly designed with wheelchairs and crutches in mind. The Miracle League removes the barriers that keep children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience the joy of America's favorite pastime. Since the main barriers for these children arise from the natural grass fields used in conventional youth leagues, Miracle League teams play on a custom-designed, rubberized turf field that accommodates wheelchairs and other medical devices while helping to prevent injuries. But it's more than playing a game. Miracle League is about making new friends, building self-esteem, and being treated just like other kids!
Bob become involved with the Miracle League of Plymouth to serve the community, in activity that is near to his heart, and for children who otherwise, could not play baseball. His favorite part of game day is watching the flag blow at the beginning of the game as the National Anthem plays on the loudspeaker and the kids and families stand at (largely) rapt attention. Bob enjoys biking, hiking and music in his spare time. Bob serves as the CEO of Sigma Investment Counselors in Northville.
The launch - baseball has brought me joy in all facets and all stages of my life. I came of age with the Detroit Tigers winning the World Series in 1968 - Kaline, Horton, McClain and Lolich were my heroes. As a youngster and into my mid 40's, I played hardball. I "retired" when my kids started having kids. Now, I go to a lot of games - major league, minor league, little league, Miracle League. The game always brings me home.As a kid growing up, my family struggled to make ends meet and it was not always a certainty that there would be the money for me to sign up and play. In the years I was not able to play, it obviously cast a bit of a pall over my childhood. When I learned through a conversation with Deb Madonna several years ago that the special needs children in our community were also not able to play - not necessarily because of finances but because there was not an appropriate facility for them - I knew the feelings they were experiencing. Hence, I had to do something about it for them. The result was the Miracle League of Plymouth. - Bob Bilkie
Non-profit 501(c)(3) Organization
Geoff has worked with the Miracle League of Plymouth in support and advisory roles since its inception in 2011. When asked to join the board in July 2020, he was both honored and delighted to have the opportunity to increase his involvement with such a benevolent (and fun!) organization. Geoff lives in Northville with his wife, two sons, and dog (named Otter). When not practicing law, he enjoys family, walking, music, and meditation.
Executive Director/Coach/Player Parent
Stacey Diefenbach became involved with the Miracle League of Plymouth after registering her son to play in 2020. As soon as she learned more about the organization's history and mission, she was eager to join the team. Stacey served as MLP's Operation Manager in 2021. She lives in Farmington Hills with her husband Andrew, and her sons, James and Ian. Stacey comes to the team with strong non-profit experience and carries the determination of a mother with two special needs children. Stacey also serves as a member on the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee for Oakland County Schools. She is a representative for her children's school district, Farmington Public Schools. Stacey proudly carries the roles as MLP's Executive Director, Parent of a Player, and Coach of the Astros! Contact Stacey at Stacey@miracleleagueofplymouth.com