Founder & Executive Director
Helena Lundblad, originally from Sweden, has always gravitated towards animals of all kinds. She spent much of her childhood around horses, and always had several companion animals in her home. Raised in a small town in the northern part of Sweden, vegetarianism or veganism was never something she was exposed to. It wasn’t until she was studying Public Health Science at the university that she started eliminating meat from her diet. At first it was mainly for health,and environmental reasons, but later on, when learning more about standard practices in animal agriculture, both Helena and her husband, Mathias went fully vegan in 2017 and started advocating for animal rights.
Helena moved from Sweden to San Diego 2012, and a few years after that she and Mathias relocated to Hawaii’s Big Island for his work. When searching for the property that would become their home, Helena knew she wanted the space to be able to have animals around her, but starting a sanctuary was never in the plans.
It was when an orphaned, four pound, wild goat named Janice came into their lives in 2016 that everything changed. Janice arrived with severe injuries to all of her hooves. It’s unclear exactly what had happened to her, but it appeared she had burnt all her legs. Her injuries caused two of her hooves to fall off, and the remaining two became badly deformed. Janice lived in the house for the first six months of her life while healing from her injuries and learning to walk in prosthetic legs. The bond between Helena and Janice grew very strong during that time – and with that bond also came the realization that, in all the ways that matter, there’s no difference between the species we call pets and the ones we call farm animals. Janice will always hold a very special place in Helena’s heart and is the reason Magical Creatures came to be.
Since founding Magical Creatures Sanctuary in January 2018, Helena has worked tirelessly to provide sanctuary to the many farmed animals on the Big Island who need rescue — whether from slaughter or neglect, wildlings who have been orphaned due to hunting or car accidents, or animals with special needs — and continue outreach and education efforts in the community.
John is a seasoned non-profit executive and consultant, as well as a life-long activist. Looking for purposeful community to complement meaningful work, he came across Magical Creatures and knew he had found where he was meant to be. Just a few months later, John and his wife Ray packed up their lives in NYC and moved to the sanctuary to start anew. He is passionate about animal welfare, social justice, roots music, and wine.
Director of Education & Outreach
Ray is a skilled and passionate professional with over 15 years of experience in education and outreach. She has helped people communicate more effectively and engage with their communities on the topics of social justice, animal welfare, and sustainability. She has worked with diverse populations to create impactful change around the globe. Ray is a facilitator and trainer who inspires others to explore new ideas and opportunities and is a lifelong learner who loves to collaborate and share.
Ellie has been working with Magical Creatures since November of 2020. Originally a live-in intern on leave from her job in technology consulting, she quickly realized she'd found her passion and home away from home at the sanctuary. Ellie left the corporate world a few months later and came onboard full time as our Sanctuary Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. She's been so proud and grateful to be part of the sanctuary's growing team and loves connecting with others who want to be part of the Magical Creatures ‘ohana. Aside from spending time with our residents, Ellie enjoys hiking, reading, traveling, and watching videos of cute animals on the Internet.