Allyson Kelso’s Aunt
Founder, Rally for Ally
When Ally was born on December 22, 2004 in Oxnard, CA, it was an exciting time. A new baby, Christmas for her three-year-old big sister, Morgan.
My then fiancé, Tom, and I were recently engaged and planning a wedding, Kristin had a thriving career, and Mark was anticipating some family time before deploying with the US Navy in early 2005.
We were all there to celebrate the arrival of Allyson Glenn Kelso and Christmas. Life was GOOD. Our family is always there and present for each other, that’s the constant.
It is also the prevailing theme to Rally for Ally year after year: To show up. Be present. Lend a hand. Those were my thoughts when I found the quote to support what would become our annual fundraiser for the NFED: “The true meaning in life is to plant trees, under whose shade you never expect to sit.”
To help and support my sister and her family in any way possible, I searched for some key words the doctors had shared with us and found the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias (NFED) website. I emailed. They emailed. I called. They called.
They immediately became invested in Ally and our lives. We instantly became a part of their world, too. It was then I knew I needed to do something for the NFED to help support Ally, others affected by an ectodermal dysplasias syndrome, and all the families who care for these children.
My family and I simply thought of what we could do best. We called some friends, asked my dad to barbeque his famous brisket and ribs, put the drinks on ice and hosted a backyard alley party behind our home in Washington, DC more than 10 years ago.
I asked everyone to bring $5-$10 to toss in the bucket to raise funds and awareness for the NFED. Another friend suggested a raffle and silent auction. Imagine my surprise when that little backyard gathering that Saturday afternoon raised $6,500 for the NFED!
I could have never anticipated the roller coaster and incredible journey our family was about to embark upon. I also had no idea that the backyard cookout and fundraiser we hosted that first year in 2005 would eventually expand in to a local park and raise over $15,000 each year for the NFED.
Hosting a fundraiser, creating an event to support the NFED and coming up with a way to introduce the NFED and those living with an ectodermal dysplasias syndrome should be something that works for you and your family.
What business connections do you have? What small part can you and your neighbors, school, community or place of business do to lend a hand and show support?
Another way we raise funds each year is to ask a local business owner to help us host “NFED night” or “Rally for Ally day” at their establishment, where a portion of sales during a designated time will be donated to the NFED. It’s a simple ASK – we never know what others are willing to do and give until we try.
When it comes to family and supporting the NFED, let’s all do our part and just ask so that we can create opportunities to share a loved one’s story, introduce them to the world, and let them know about the NFED and all it does to give back to our families.
Rally for Ally is on Saturday, June 27 from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. in Nottoway Park – Pavilion & Picnic Area (reserved), 9610 Courthouse Rd, Vienna, VA 22181. Click on Evite for more Info.
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