On April 30, hundreds of philanthropic hearts joined forces at Gilley’s Dallas for the Ally’s Wish Foundation’s second annual Boots & Blessings Gala to help grant the wishes of terminally ill mothers.
The foundation is named for the late Allyson Hendrickson.
Hendrickson was a wife, a mother of three boys, a devout Christian, and a warrior in her battle against ovarian cancer. She kept a blog over the course of seven years, detailing her life during this battle. Hendrickson’s strength and faith, even in light of her prognosis, inspired many, including four women at her church.
They didn’t know Hendrickson very well outside of the glances and quick chats at church, yet they felt compelled to do something for her. So in 2014, they developed the concept for the nonprofit foundation, which provides the gifts, transportation, and lodging needed to make moms’ wishes come true.
After solidifying their plan, Missy Phipps, Holly Reed, Melissa Cary, and Heather Bryan went to Hendrickson, filled her in, and said that they wanted to grant her wish to publish a blog.
“Her words to me were, ‘Missy, it’s been so hard trying to figure out what would come out of this. This is a way for me to know that all that I’ve been through is going to help other people,’” said Missy Phipps, founder and president of the Ally’s Wish Foundation.
In two years, Ally’s Wish has granted the wishes of 18 mothers across the country. All requests are met at no expense to the mothers, and have included vacations, memory gardens, and more published blogs.
Tanya Norris’ wish is to travel to Nashville, the city of music. The 44-year-old was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer, a year ago on her birthday.
Norris views each day as a gift, so memories are made daily, she said. But she knows the trip to Nashville would be one her 10-year-old music-loving daughter would cherish forever.
“She loves a good Elvis Presley impersonator,” Norris said with a laugh. “She likes Miranda Lambert, Justin Bieber, George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, and others. So I just thought it would be fun if we went to Nashville and see who we could see.”
Thanks to generous donations and money raised by Ally’s Wish, Norris and her family of three will do just that this summer. Norris made a courageous speech at the Boots & Blessings Gala, sharing her journey and her gratitude for her devoted husband and family, and for Ally’s Wish for their dedication to terminally ill mothers.
“We try not to talk about terminal too much, because I know that it’s coming. But we’re going to live every moment to the fullest as long as we can,” Norris said. “I think the ladies that serve at Ally’s Wish knew exactly what Ally wanted to do and they put in so much time and their effort to make those things work for people that they’ve just met. I think it’s just wonderful.”
People Newspapers was a media sponsor of the Boots & Blessings Gala.