About Helen

Helen was an incredibly loving, thoughtful and caring person. Although she graced us with her presence for only 19 short years, she touched countless people in so many ways.

Helen died very suddenly and innocently in March 2006 as her family was all together stopped at a traffic light after attending a rehearsal dinner for her cousin’s wedding, which she was to be in the next day. The family car was hit from behind by a driver asleep at the wheel.  She left us that night with all the grace and elegance she had shown all her life. She slipped away with no outward signs of pain or injury. Her family misses her positive  and caring spirit to this day and always will.

Helen had an incredible ability to sense one’s feelings and had no inhibitions about letting them know that. Her trademark hug was extended to people out of love, out of fun and in times of need. It hurts deeply to know we will never physically feel her hugs again, but in a broader and much more reaching sense, we are inspired and motivated to know her empathy for others truly carries on to those who need it most.  All made possible by her friends and family and this wonderful organization, Helen’s Hugs.

For over a decade now, Helen’s Hugs, through generous donations and dedicated volunteers has funded literally thousands of equestrian therapy lessons for special needs children whose families may not otherwise be able to afford them.

Helen was an accomplished rider herself and very passionate about horses and her sport. She would spend countless hours with her horse Tonka, and we believe that this connection created a part of her loving and generous spirit. Through Helen’s Hugs, connecting a child to days filled with sunshine, smiles and horseback riding may well be the gateway to a changed life. Tonka  now shines as one the favorite horses at Eden Farms. He loves his job and he is treated like royalty by their fabulous and gifted staff. Tonka makes an appearance at the annual Helen’s Hugs 5K Run/Walk & Hangout!

About Helen’s Hugs

As well as an accomplished equestrian, Helen was also a nursing student at Greenville Technical College. She was the daughter of George and Lesa Corontzes and sister to Matt and Christine. Helen’s Hugs was established to keep her generous spirit alive by giving special children the opportunity to bond with horses. Donations received will fund therapeutic riding and caring for these gentle horses through a well-established program called Happy Hooves at Eden Farms near Easley, SC. Children are selected to receive scholarships to participate in riding camps and on-going therapeutic programs. Helen’s Hugs also sponsors entire special needs classrooms from several area schools leaving no one out.

Helen’s Hugs is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that operates completely through the heartfelt volunteering of friends and family allowing 100% of your donation to be used to its fullest potential of reaching the most children possible.

Also, her family would like to share this information about Helen’s organ donation.

Organ Donation

It was natural for Helen to be pursuing a career in nursing considering her kind and caring ways.  She gave blood regularly and always offered her help to friends, family, co-workers and many others.  She volunteered after school for children and in nursing homes through her coursework. Consequently, her family had every reason to believe that Helen would have given the gift of life by donating her vital organs to those in need.  Her younger brother Matt and sister Christine, 18 and 15 at the time of the accident, have experienced such healing comfort in knowing Helen helped these families in such a monumental way.

Helen was in perfect health and her organ match with recipients was hugely successful. Through the services of LifePoint-SC.org her heart beats in a 14 year old boy named Josh who loves NASCAR, video games and hunting. (Josh is now in his mid-twenties and keeps in touch regularly).

Her kidney and pancreas saved a beautiful young diabetic mother named Laura. Laura and her family have remained dear friends of the Corontzes family and participates in and generously donates annually to the 5K Run/Walk & Hangout.

Her kidney saved a 14 year old girl who was on dialysis and was on the transplant waiting list for over a year.

Her liver went to a middle-aged father of two sons who loves fishing and motorcycle riding.  His message of thanks is very moving.

Her lung went to save a 67-year-old grandfather who lived to see his grandchildren grow up.

Her beautiful skin went to burn victims and her tissue helped many others.

Through Helen’s Hugs and these other wonderful service organizations, her special ways of caring and giving live on right here in our community and beyond.