A Mother and her Two Daughters

29 October 2010

Celebrating Allyson

If you read this blog regularly, you know that in September I participated in Runway for a Cause, a very successful event sponsored by AY Magazine, organized by some terrific volunteers for the past ten years, which raises much needed funds for breast cancer programs at UAMS, CARTI and other local hospitals with programs for healing, service and outreach. 

You also know that this month my daughter Allyson, who lives in St. Louis, volunteers for the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.  Recently she helped organize a fabulous event, Celebrate Spot, a walk for dogs and their people to benefit breast cancer research and treatment at Siteman.  In fact, my puppy Abbey won the PAWtner Award at this event for every-diligence care of me during my own cancer plight. 

Over the past several weeks, Allyson has been hard at work putting together a proposal for the Siteman Cancer Center to raise more funds by hosting a similar runway fashion show.  She’s been working on names, researching possible venues, securing a magazine sponsor, putting together budgets and timelines, and figuring out the target audience and marketing strategies to make it a success.  Last night, Allyson and a few Mizzou girlfriends presented “Celebrate Style” to the Siteman team – and it was approved for funding and sponsorship.  She is ecstatic and excited about coordinating another fundraising event for their Young Women’s Breast Cancer Program.  

As her mother, I’m proud.  But as a life long volunteer, I’m simply amazed.  This is the work of a 23-year-old young woman who is using her talents to make a difference in the lives of others.  My friends might say that she’s a chip off the old block.  But let me tell you, she is so far beyond her mother and most other young women her age.  I may have been volunteering when I was 23, but I wasn’t dreaming about or organizing big events like this one.  No doubt she is mature and experienced beyond her years. 

Allyson is no stranger to community service.  I can remember one holiday season when both of my girls discovered that toy donations were almost nil at the Watershed Human & Community Development Center.  Each Christmas the girls volunteered there for Rev. Hezekiah Stewart, but this particular year was a tough one in terms of non-food donations.  The girls got out on the streets, on the phones, even did a radio and TV interview, to raise thousands of dollars to buy baby dolls and basketballs and more.  And then there was the time Allyson helped organized a dance for high school students with Down syndrome, with the Central High Civitan Club members serving as dance partners.  She and her friends came home exhausted from all the high-energy dancing, but with special memories about the great fun everyone had that night.  Just last year, Allyson, and a Journalism School colleague organized a Mizzou benefit concert that raised awareness and funds for the Haiti relief effort.  Even though the Westboro Baptist Church protested the concert, she had much to be proud of for all their success in such a short period of time.

And today, as a young professional, she is organizing a lavish style show in the big city of St. Louis to benefit breast cancer research and treatment. 

Today I am celebrating Allyson, who has once again shown her incredible compassion, her “can-do” spirit for making good things happen, her longtime compassion and understanding for human need.  If only the world had a few more young people, and old people too, like her.  She’s a true role model for the spirit of community service.  Reminds me of that wonderful Thoreau quote:  “One is not born into the world to do everything, but to do something.” 

Here’s to you, Allyson!  The world is a better place because you’re in it.  I’m so proud of you, and love you dearly. 

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