Allie’s Helping Hands was inspired by Allison (Allie) McConnell Lock. At just two years old, Allie was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia – a disease that she would courageously fight for the next twelve years. Allie was a beautiful, kind, thoughtful and brave little girl who despite daunting health obstacles always had a smile on her face and a positive attitude.
During Allie’s twelve-year battle, her sister, Kristen, became aware that there were few resources inside the hospital for siblings. Aside from a playroom, and an occasional visit to the toy chest, there were few structured activities, or social support opportunities for siblings of children with critical illnesses.
That changed one day when a volunteer family came to the hospital and invited Allie’s sister to a “day of play” – a temporary escape from the emotional heaviness associated with her sister’s treatment. That day of laughter, friendship and sunshine was over 20 years ago although it feels like just yesterday.
Kristen Spalding founded Allie’s Helping Hands in memory of her sister, to raise awareness of the needs of siblings of ill children, and to guide health care professionals and community leaders in structuring and providing support for them.