HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A Houston-area couple wants to invite you to a large-scale celebration of life for their daughter through a foundation in her name. They are helping keep Allyson's dream alive through the non-profit organization Ally's Wish. It provides a last wish to young, terminally-ill mothers with young children.
Pat Conner is Allyson's mother and a well-known minister to children at Sugar Creek Baptist Church. While she's known for her loving heart and making children feel special, now the community is returning the ministry to her and her husband Larry. They're recovering from the loss of their daughter.
"When Allyson was thirty, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer," says Pat, thinking about her special daughter. "At that time, she was the mom to three little boys who were 1, 3, and 5. She was the best mother ever, she was a beautiful person inside and out, very smart, but very funny and I think her great sense of fun made her such an awesome mom."
Allyson fought hard for seven years to beat the disease, undergoing every type of treatment imaginable.
"As a dad, I wanted to fix it, I could fix it when she was little, but it got to a place that was bigger than I could do," explains Larry, as he fights back emotions. "You have to come to come to terms with that and surrender to that."
Allyson started a blog right before she got sick to share with family about the children she lovingly called her "3 Cowboys." Soon after, the blog turned into a refuge where she shared her faith, concerns and plans to try to beat cancer. Finally, it developed into a strong message for her young boys when she realized they would turn into men without her.
"She was very intentional on teaching them they were loved, they were cared for, even though things felt bad, she wanted to leave them stories, memories," says Pat. Memories for them to hold onto forever. Allyson wanted her blog to be published for her family. It happened! Now, her family can cherish it every day. They were even able to publish an edited version for the public. Proceeds from sales of the book will financially help the children she had to leave behind and to help fund Ally's Wish.
The Conners are working through their pain in a positive way. They're trying to help others keep a memory alive for a lifetime, by honoring other terminally-ill women. The family was the recipient of a similar gift. They were blessed with the opportunity to take a special trip to Disney before they lost Allyson to cancer. Allyson's children still talk about it!
"I realized what a great investment that was for our family," explains Larry. "It was five years ago and they reach back to reach comfort. Many families wish for trips like we had! One wanted her backyard landscaped for her family. She passed away before it was granted, but Ally's wish granted it after her death for her family. Some of them want gifts for family."
"One had little girls, so she wanted them to have charm bracelets with charms that would be added throughout their life on special occasions," says Pat. They don't want another mother to pass away without her wish, and there is a waiting list right now. That's why they're trying to raise important funds to afford families these last wishes.
Allyson's friends in Dallas developed the idea of Ally's Wish and have been holding fundraising events there. Now they're reaching out to the Houston community to help keep Allyson's dream alive! Pat and Larry believe that granting these special wishes honors their daughter's strong spirit, courage and giving heart.
"Allyson would be so happy to see what has happened with Ally's Wish," says Pat.
The Conners invite you to the Boots and Blessings Southern Soiree. It's Thursday, Nov. 3 at Sugar Creek Country Club in Sugar Land.
Proceeds will provide services, gifts, transportation, lodging or any other wish of a terminally-ill mother. If you know a family who'd benefit from a last wish, you can go to http://allyswish.org/. For more information about the Soiree, visit http://allyswish.org/southern-soiree/.