MISSOURI CITY, TX - A teenager from Fort Bend County who passed away in January is continuing to touch people all over the world.
When you look at pictures of Alyssa Ferguson it’s clear to see she battled cancer and seeing those photos it's easy to ask, just like the Matthew West song, "God why don't you do something?". The follow up line in the record profoundly answers, "He said I did. I created you". That lyric in "Do Something", Alyssa's favorite song, touched her heart and in turn changed lives all over the world but before the Missouri City teen gained worldwide attention she was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2014 two days after her 12th birthday.
”Six times she had brain surgery,” says Alyssa’s Dad Scott Ferguson. Each time the cancer came back and the Make A Wish Foundation offered Alyssa anything she asked for. Scott and Sandy Ferguson say their daughter, again, thought of West's song. Mr. Ferguson tells us some of the lyrics in the song, “I got tired of seeing people in poverty and people being sold in slavery and I shook my fist at Heaven and said God why don't you do something and He said I did. I created you”. So the girl gravely ill didn't wish for anything for herself. She asked for a clean water well to be built in Zimbabwe.
”The well has flourished so much they now use it as an irrigation system where they've been able to plant crops. So they've gotten food and water because of Alyssa,” explains Mrs. Ferguson.
Alyssa's selflessness spread reaching her favorite singer.
”In the selfish world that we live in that just moved me in a big way. I wrote her a song called WorldChangers. I put it on my last record and the reason is because you know what here's a girl fighting for her life. She gave her make a wish away and I just kept thinking man I want to give a wish back to her,” explains Christian Contemporary Musician Matthew West.
“He surprised Alyssa with that and brought her up on stage and presented the song to her,” smiles Mr. Ferguson.
”That's pretty neat, very special,” says Mrs. Ferguson with tears in her eyes.
“I got to Facetime with her on her birthday. Sometimes we'd call and do a little concert for her in the hospital,” says West.
As Alyssa continued combatting cancer her legacy took on a life of its own. Strangers began having wells built around the world in Alyssa's name.
“We're now at well number five,” says Mr. Ferguson.
In January the teen celebrated her 15th birthday. “She invited twelve of her friends over and over 100 people came,” laughs Mr. Ferguson. The partygoers played in the snow. ”Operation snowstorm came out. They provide snow for kids who are on hospice. They put 10,000 pounds of snow out on the lawn and everybody had a great time”.
Two weeks later Alyssa died. “I'll just never forget this little girl,” says West.
Miles of Missouri City are decorated in red and blue bows and balloons, Alyssa's favorite colors. Hundreds packed Sugar Land's First Colony Church of Christ for Alyssa's funeral, including Matthew West.
”He came for her service and he sang two songs for her at her service,” says Mr. Ferguson.
”She’s an incredible child who was able to somehow reach beyond her own circumstances and show us all how we can live and how it's possible to be about a cause greater than yourself even when you're hurting,” explains West.
The service was also live streamed. “They had people watch from 31 different states and people from Australia and Uganda,” Mrs. Ferguson explains.
During Alyssa's fight with cancer her motto was "Alyssa Wins". Now it's "Alyssa Won" and her parents point out she's passed but they didn't lose her. ”You only lose something when you don't know where it is. I just wanted to share with everybody that we know exactly where Alyssa is,” says Mrs. Ferguson.
”We have a lot of comfort in that. She's in heaven. She's in the arms of Jesus,” smiles Mr. Ferguson.