Ally's Story

Twenty five years young, carefree and beautiful, Ally inspires us all to dream bigger, laugh louder and live better. The work of the Allyson Whitney Foundation continues as a tribute to Allyson in honor of her memory. Her pursuit, after her cancer diagnosis, was to help others in the same situation, our pursuit is make it happen.

Ally earned her bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and aspired to a career that would allow her warmth, compassion and empathy to shine. To succeed on that mission, she continued her studies at C.W. Post, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a master’s in Speech Pathology. Ready to take on the world, Ally was excited to experience the next chapter of her life when she was suddenly diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, putting all her dreams on hold.

Determined and courageous does not even begin to describe her character as she battled with Small Cell Cervical Cancer (SCCC). Through her fight, she started to raise awareness about rare cancers. As the unthinkable had happened to her, she wanted to be a voice on a billboard, yelling to young adults, “this can happen to anyone, at anytime!” Her intellect was trying to figure why this had happened to her and tried to cross references similarities and differences with the few others diagnosed with the same disease. Cancer is a word, where we all stop and hold our breath, but what about a rare cancer with no protocol, where do you turn? Ally turned into a self reliant warrior. She traveled in and out of the country searching for a protocol to defeat the cancer. She  fought hard for 14 months, she then passed away November 24, 2011. Cancer did not take away who she was.

Ally, a great beauty, reveled in the little things– relaxing in sweatpants and hooded sweatshirts, eating sprinkles from the jar, or rooting for her beloved NY teams, the Knicks, Giants and Mets. Her dedication to her family and friends was obvious to all those who were fortunate enough to meet her. She collected mementos to keep pieces of loved ones and her many adventures close to her heart. Allyson was little in stature, but, “And though she be but little, she is fierce”- Shakespeare. Throughout her fight, amidst the side effects of various treatments, with all the physical and emotional demands, she still managed to find a smile, listen to others’ stories and offer advice. She raised HOPE to others through her own giving. Her dancing spirit continues to bring a smile to our faces.

The work of the Allyson Whitney Foundation ‘s pursuit is to continue Ally’s wishes and aspirations. In honor of her memory, the organization awards ‘Life Interrupted Grants’ ™ for young adult patients battling a rare cancer. We want awareness that ‘rare’ is a word often used when faced with a cancer diagnosis as a young adult. In Ally’s blog, she vowed when she was ‘well’ she would, “…help others in this situation, whether it be financially, physically, or most important, mentally.” Her words inspire us and remind us about the power of gratitude: “At night, I try to think of at least three things I’m grateful for that day – and I truly think that it helps when I wake up… I wake up and smile and I say thank you. Thank you for another day.” Her desire to find out “why” she developed this cancer, leads us to further innovative research.

Take Ally’s hand with ours and band together to be one for all young adults facing a cancer diagnosis. Ally’s story becomes many…