By Bob Weir
Recently, a large gathering of fun-loving and compassionate North Texans attended the Eighth annual Boots and Blessings gala, a fundraiser for Ally’s Wish, at Marty B’s rooftop. The Flower Mound-based organization grants wishes to mothers battling terminal illnesses so that they may create lasting memories with their children and loved ones.
Denton County Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell welcomed guests and introduced Larry Conner, who spoke in remembrance of his daughter, Allyson Hendrickson, the inspiration for creating Ally’s Wish and the organization’s first wish recipient. Conner then led the room in prayer and blessed not only the meal but prayed that guests would open their hearts to support Ally’s Wish in their fundraising endeavors.
Ally’s Wish, Inc., founded in 2014, is a nonprofit, 501c3 approved organization based in North Texas, devoted to granting last wishes to young, terminally ill mothers with children. Allyson Hendrickson, a Flower Mound resident, succumbed to cancer on July 12, 2014, at 38. Co-Founder and President Missy Phipps started the organization in 2014 to pay tribute to Allyson and all moms under similar circumstances. Wishes are granted in the form of services, gifts, transportation, lodging, or any other wish the mother may have.
To be eligible for a granted wish, the mom must have been determined to be terminally ill and not receiving any life-saving treatment. Also, the mom must have at least one child under 18 and in school. Another provision is that the moms have not received another similar wish from another organization. A doctor’s diagnosis is required when asking to be granted a wish, followed by some minor paperwork. Although there are no income qualifications, most mothers have exhausted their finances due to the medical bills associated with their condition.
Most of the wishes granted are for travel locations such as Hawaii, Disney World, and New York City. One family’s Wish was to attend a Dallas Cowboy football game and a Texas Rangers baseball game. Incidentally, these wishes are granted to moms across the country, some of whom just wish to travel to visit their families. A doctor’s note is required to ensure they are healthy enough to travel. Ally’s Wish uses a local travel agency to organize the trips. One mom requested and received James Avery’s bracelets for her daughters, and she wanted the charms to signify various events in their lives, such as graduation, marriage, first child, etc.
Publicist Cynthia Smoot of Gangway Advertising was a delightful presence throughout the evening as she connected with many North Texas notables at the standing-room-only event.
At the close of the Boots & Blessings gala, three families on the waitlist, gathered on stage to have their wishes granted. Pat Conner announced to the families that due to the organization’s fundraising success, they were no longer on the list. Their wait is over, and they can look forward to having their wishes granted! Since its inception, Ally’s Wish has granted over 225 wishes to mothers who’ve battled inflammatory breast cancer, leukemia, colon cancer, and other terminal illnesses. Wish requests and nominations are accepted year-round, and while based in North Texas, Ally’s Wish grants them to mothers across the US. The stories of the women who have been granted wishes and have touched countless lives along the way are featured on the Ally’s Wish website.
For more info, visit, AllysWish.org.