Alyssa's life was
tragically cut short; two months shy of her 10th birthday.
On February 26th, 2007, Alyssa was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoma
Leukemia (A.L.L.). On March 8th, a short ten days later, she
passed away from complications brought on by the treatment
of her disease.
Alyssa was fun-loving,
with an effortless smile and an infectious laugh. She was
an ordinary nine year old who loved to be with her friends,
enjoyed playing soccer, skiing, and playing the guitar. She
loved music, arts and crafts, and being outdoors. Alyssa also
loved almost every type of animal, especially dogs and her
two leopard geckos. Her favorite holiday was Halloween, which
may have led to her favorite color being orange. Her fashion
statement was low maintenance - a hooded sweatshirt and mismatched
earrings. Her favorite meal was chicken soft tacos from the
Chipotle Mexican Grill - the older she got - the hotter the
salsa she chose. Similar to her life, her confidence grew
on knowing what she could handle.
Alyssa loved to read - devouring books at an incredible pace;
sometimes reading two or three books a week. She could rattle
off a book's author nearly as well as its title. Many times
we would find her fast asleep with her glasses on her nose
and a book on her chest.
She was blessed
to have teachers that nourished this passion for reading and
her excitement in creating her own writings. In first grade,
the books she enjoyed most were the Magic Tree
House series, by Mary Pope Osborne. Her love
of animals led her to enjoy Poppy and Rye
and Ragweed, by Avi, in second grade.
Misty, Shiloh, Hundred Dresses,
and Tales of Desperaux caught her
greatest attention in third grade and in fourth grade; she
was captivated by The Tiger Rising,
Old Yeller, The Westing Game,
The Good Dog, and so many others.
with her natural curiosity, we believe reading gave Alyssa
an active vocabulary and imagination, enabling her to write
both fictional and non-fictional short stories and poems.
We have included two of our favorite poems of hers here.
Alyssa had a quiet confidence about her that enabled her to
always be herself. As one of her classmates wrote, "Alyssa
could come up with a new idea when no one else could, and
when a creative idea came to her mind, her smile grew and
her eyes lit up!". She continually seemed to be processing
what was going on around her and had an astonishingly broad
view of the world. In third grade, she filled out a sheet
describing herself and her goals in life. One of those goals
was to change the world
. This goal
of hers was one of the impetuses for forming this foundation.
was also a very kind and compassionate child with many caring
thoughts and actions. There were many occasions where she
expressed her concern about the health of not only family
members, but others less fortunate in this world. In 2005/06,
Alyssa allowed her hair to grow long so she could donate it
to "Locks of Love", which makes wigs for cancer
patients. Ironically, her hair was cut in December of 2006,
two months prior to her own diagnosis of cancer. During the
holiday season of 2006, three months prior to her death, Alyssa
scribbled a simple, yet heartfelt Christmas
to us that displayed her ever present concern for others.
This message too, became a motivating force for forming this
foundation in her honor.
To honor Alyssa's
life, we have created this foundation which supports what gave
her life and which combines both her passion for reading
and her compassion for others. We hope to do our small part
to finish her pursuit to "change the world"
in a compassionate and giving way.