The year was 2014 and Flower Mound resident Missy Phipps wanted to do something to honor her friend Allyson Hendrickson who was dying of cancer. Since Hendrickson had three young children, Phipps thought it would be helpful to assist other terminally-ill women in the same situation, so she and three friends founded Ally’s Wish.
“Ally’s Wish is here to try and give them memories with their kids that don’t involve hospitals and medicine and doctors and sadness,” Phipps said. “We want these kids to have amazing memories and we want the moms to be able to experience one last amazing wish with them.”
In the six years since, Phipps and her small team have granted 158 wishes including a record of nearly 40 last year to women with children high school age and younger. In the past, those wishes included trips to Disney World, family vacations to Hawaii, and hosting special children’s birthday parties plus other services and gifts. However, with most travel curtailed with the COVID-19 pandemic this year, they have had to be creative.
“We’ve tried to do things that bring joy to the home like making their backyard a place they can enjoy with patio furniture and fire pits and maybe a gazebo and things like that,” said board member Rahna Morgan. “We’ve helped with some pools and Jacuzzis. We’ve provided media rooms. We’ve arranged horseback riding outings and helped prepare a travel trailer to go camping.”
The small organization only has two paid employees – a bookkeeper and administrative assistant – plus three board members and four wish granters. That makes it easier to budget $5,000 for each wish.
Phipps and her organization usually secure donations from two major fundraisers – a gala in April and a 5K run in October. She had lofty goals for the 2020 Gala after securing $75,000 in 2019. But the pandemic replaced the in-person gala with an online auction.
“We’re really hoping in 2021 we can bring it back,” Phipps said.
However, the Ally’s 5K was able to take place in partnership with Lakeside DFW in Flower Mound where it raised $25,000. And the organization won a contest late in 2019 that netted $100,000 from Reliant Energy allowing Ally’s Wish to continue its mission this year.
“I feel like it was a blessing,” Phipps said. “God knew COVID was coming and we didn’t, and it has sustained us this year because we didn’t get to have our gala.”
In addition, Ally’s Wish was named Nonprofit of the Year in 2018 at the annual Unity in Communities luncheon hosted by the Flower Mound and Lewisville chambers of commerce and the Highland Village Business Association in July 2019.
Phipps and her friends started with the goal of helping women in the Dallas-Fort Worth area but through word of mouth has expanded nationwide. Many of the 184 women on the waiting list come from other parts of the country.
Though COVID-19 has slowed down the organization’s momentum and diminished what it can do a bit, it has not reduced the spirit of the women who help other women. Phipps and her team are doing what they can for now with goal of doing more in the future once the pandemic is over.
“We have a lot in the works,” Phipps said. “With our wait list being so long unfortunately some of the moms will not make it through our waiting list. We never anticipated being so successful we couldn’t grant some wishes. It’s really important that we have the constant support of people who donate to us on a regular basis.”
Donations are always welcome at allyswish.org.