Meredith and Adam Bugenske


Meredith and Adam Bugenske with son, Leo.

State Treasurer Curtis Loftis with the Bugenske family.

Four years ago, Meredith and Adam Bugenske received a precious gift: the birth of baby Leo. However, Leo’s birth also brought with it the added responsibility of caring for a child with significant health challenges.  

After learning that Leo was born with a condition known as spinal muscular atrophy, the Bugenskes didn’t waste any time in pledging to give Leo the happy life he deserved. They created Leo’s Pride Foundation to increase awareness and fund research about Leo’s condition, and they vowed they would not let the disease limit the experiences they could have as a family. The Bugenskes soon developed a family “adventure list,” and they began to travel around the country in an accessible van.

Recently, the Bugenskes were excited to learn that they can also give Leo a new level of financial support. State Treasurer Curtis Loftis’ launch of the Palmetto ABLE Savings Program means the Bugenskes can begin investing money for Leo through a plan that allows him to keep receiving his need-based benefits.  The Bugenskes will also be able to deduct their contributions to Leo’s ABLE account from their state income tax returns.

“Having a Palmetto ABLE® account is great because there are so many expenses outside of what insurance pays for,” Meredith said. “It gives us the ability to plan for the future while being able to access funds that will benefit Leo today.

In fact, the Bugenskes have already identified two ABLE-connected purchases. “The first thing we’re going to use it on, is to fix the accessibility ramp on our van. The timing is good because that’s a big expense,” Meredith said. “The next thing Leo needs is a new mattress pad. He needs extra support, so the mattress pad is important.”

Meredith and Adam, who recently welcomed a baby daughter into the family, are grateful for the opportunities that the program has opened up for them and for Leo. “The great things about a Palmetto ABLE account is it lets us save tax-free; it helps us with the contribution tax write-off; and it allows us to plan for Leo’s future,” Meredith said. 

And with such dedicated parents as the Bugenskes, Leo’s future is certain to be a happy one.

To find out if you or a loved one is eligible to open a Palmetto ABLE account, visit