Ally’s Wish’s Boots And Blessings Kicked Off With Krispin Munchies, Champagne And A 10% Give Back At Draper James

With the holiday season just days away, Thursday, November 15th was the perfect time to learn about plans for Ally’s Wish’s Boot And Blessings Gala at Draper James especially with the store’s providing a 10% give back. Here’s a report from the field:

Southern charm and southern hospitality couldn’t have made for a more perfect night at the new Draper James boutique in Highland Park Village on Thursday, November 15.  The 3-year-old nonprofit organization Ally’s Wish hosted a kick-off celebration for the annual Boots And Blessings Gala. The organization that grants wishes for terminally ill young mothers (many of whom are fighting terminal cancer diagnosis), celebrated with southern inspired bites by Wendy Krispin Caterer and Korbel California Champagne Non-Vintage Brut Rosé.

Draper James*

As guests filled the narrow boutique, scents of the Draper James holiday spice candle filled the room and the shopping commenced. A give back on the night of 10% of sales was all that guests needed to hear in order to do some early holiday gift shopping for friends and family.

Kersten Rettig, Jill Salinaro, Shirley Cohn and Mary Hubbard*

In attendance were former Highland Park Village Marketing Director, Kersten Rettig (she’s also the Gala Underwriting Chair), Erin Key, Andrea Reich, Jill Salinaro, Barbara Dianis, Jessica Velasco, Mary Hubbard and Laura Armstrong Downing, who will serve as this year’s Advisory Chair.

Kim Gilchrist, Kellie Rasberry and Missy Phipps*

Host/Emcee Kellie Rasberry gathered the crowd around the large in-store island and began sharing her connection to the organization and how it was so reminiscent of Kidd’s Kids, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary this month. As Rasberry noted, “It is the moms that the wishes are granted for, but the children who have the lasting memories”.

As Kim Gilchrist, one half of the event chair duo, made sponsor announcements and recognized the other members of the event leadership team she shared her excitement for the 2017 event. With over 19 moms on the waiting list for wishes to be granted, and more requests coming in monthly, the annual gala provides the necessary funds to create the memories that the moms’ desire.

Following Kim’s comments, Ally’s Wish Co-Founder/President Missy Phipps shared the history of the organization. With many new faces in the crowd, it was an opportunity to share the story of the late Allyson Hendrickson and how four friends created an organization that has impacted over 40 moms since its inception in March of 2014. 

Missy Phipps, Holly Reed, Kelly Walgamott and Melissa Cary*

As the evening was winding down and guests were making their final purchases, the Draper James team made the night a bit sweeter with branded cupcakes from Sprinkles!

With a successful kickoff event in the books, the focus now turns to the upcoming event. The 3rd Annual Boots And Blessings Gala will be held on Saturday, April 29, at Gilley’s Dallas. For more information, tickets or sponsorships please visit

Photo Credit: Bob Manzano

Boots And Blessings At Gilley’s Provided Fun, Food And Funding For Ally’s Wish Moms To Create Lasting Memories For Their Children

After a non-stop month of fundraising activities, Ally’s Wish‘s Boots and Blessing Gala at Gilley’s closed down April with gals in boots and remarkable testimonials about the organization that is the late Allyson Hendrickson‘s legacy. Here is a report from the field:

Country-themed affairs were the talk of the town on Saturday, April 30, but at the iconic Gilley’s Dallas, Ally’s Wish was making wishes come true for mothers battling terminal illnesses. The two-year-old organization has raised over $150,000 and granted over 17 wishes to moms with big dreams of create lasting memories with their children.

Inside one of Gilley’s largest ballrooms, a packed house with 300 of DFW’s finest and some out-of-towners, event chair, Laura Downing and honorary chair, Tricia Sims worked the room sharing their connection to Ally’s Wish. Earlier in the year, Tricia Sims hosted a fashion themed kick-off at her home featuring local designer Esé Azénabor and as Laura Downing noted during her speech, her personal connection to Allyson Hendrickson (the organization’s namesake) is why she chose to serve as event chair, to help raise more awareness and dollars to fund wishes.

Tricia Sims and Natasha Mosier*

Tricia Sims and Natasha Mosier*

Kunthear and Scott Douglas*

Kunthear and Scott Douglas*

Cathy and Tommy Vieth*

Cathy and Tommy Vieth*

As guests began to trickle in dressed in their boots and jeans, some with a little bling and some with a lot, they enjoyed cocktails courtesy of Candy’s Signature Cocktails and beer provided by Community Beer. Blushington’s make-up touch-up bar and the boot shine stand were hot spots, but it was the silent auction that was all a buzz. Guests made their way ‘round the tables bidding on favorites including the Abi Ferrin shopping experience, Alexis Bittar earrings courtesy of Neiman Marcus and the Emmitt Smith autographed footballs. Bob Manzano captured Cathy and Tommy Vieth, Kunthear Mam-Douglas, Melissa Rountree, Nicole Barrett, Regina Bruce and Kersten Rettig who posed for photos.

Heather Bryan, Melissa Cary, Laura Downing, Missy Phipps and Holly Reed*

Heather Bryan, Melissa Cary, Laura Downing, Missy Phipps and Holly Reed*

The night began with LeeAnne Locken, from Bravo TV’s “The Real Housewives of Dallas” welcoming everyone, a prayer was said and the chow bell rang! A buffet of Texas BBQ favorites was served including apple cobbler for dessert, but for those that didn’t want anything too sweet, Yasmeen Tadia of Sugaire™ provided them with an alternative option in her gourmet, organic, less than 1 gram of sugar version of cotton candy.  As the program continued and guests were seated, Missy Phipps, founder and president of Ally’s Wish shared the stage with her friends and co-founders Melissa Cary, Holly Reed and Heather Bryan to tell their story of creating Ally’s Wish and why their love for their friend has translated into the organization serving moms and their children.

Larry and Pat Conner*

Larry and Pat Conner*

Larry and Pat Conner, the parents of the late Allyson Hendrickson spoke about their daughter, her battle with ovarian cancer and wish to have her blog, “My 3 Sons” turned into a lasting memory in the form of a book (“Three Little Cowboys”) that is now sold with a portion of proceeds benefiting Ally’s Wish and a portion placed into a trust for her sons.

Soon after, Wendy Lambert Auctions’ Charla Goodwin Janecka began the live auction. From the Dancing with the Stars package to the 20 friends Blushington beauty experience and Chamberlains wine tasting with cast members from the “Real Housewives of Dallas,” the bidding wars began.

Ethan Spencer, Russell Spencer and Austin Spencer*

Ethan Spencer, Russell Spencer and Austin Spencer*

However, it wasn’t until Russell Spencer and Tanya Norris took the stage to share their stories and connections to Ally’s Wish, that guests began to feel the depth and breath of how granting wishes to moms would and could have an immeasurable impact. Russell shared the stage with his two sons, Austin and Ethan, and spoke of his wife Terran, whose wish was granted in 2014 with a memorable family vacation to Hawaii where she swam with dolphins.

Tanya Norris*

Tanya Norris*

Tanya shared her story and current battle of Glioblastoma Multiforme, more commonly known as brain cancer. Her wish is to visit Nashville with her daughter Paige and loving caretaker husband Ben this summer. Her wish will be granted because shortly after sharing their stories over $30,000 was raised, allowing Ally’s Wish to grant more wishes to moms like Tanya and the current list of ten others on the waiting list.

The Breckenridge Band took to the stage and taught a bit of line dancing, but the night wasn’t over because Britnee Kellogg the season 11 and season 12 hopeful fromAmerican Idol” made a special appearance on stage with her band and closed out the night rocking to original songs and country classics.

For more information about Ally’s Wish, visit

* Photo credit: Bob Manzano

Ally’s Wish’s A Venetian Dream Was A Showcase Of Esé Azénabor Fashions At Tricia Sims’ Mansion

Those who love fashion were having a love fest on Tuesday, March 29, at the Ally’s Wish‘s A Venetian Dream with Esé Azénabor collection impressing guests. While far from western wear, it still served as a warm up for the upcoming Boots and Blessing Gala on Saturday, April 30, at Gilley’s. Here’s a report from the field:

The Ally’s Wish Boots and Blessings Gala host committee welcomed more than 125 guests on Tuesday, March 29, to the gorgeous home of honorary chair Tricia Sims for an evening of fashion and philanthropy. “A Venetian Dream,” the collaboration of Ally’s Wish and local designer, Esé Azénabor commenced the countdown to the Flower Mound-based organization’s second annual gala to be held at Gilley’s Dallas on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

Holly Reed, Missy Phipps, Honorary Chair Tricia Sims, Ese Azenabor and Melissa Cary*

Holly Reed, Missy Phipps, Tricia Sims, Ese Azenabor and Melissa Cary*

Inspired by the loss of their dear friend, Allyson Hendrickson, to ovarian cancer, Missy Phipps, Holly Reed, Melissa Cary and Heather Bryan founded Ally’s Wish to grant the last wishes of young mothers battling terminal illnesses. In just two years, the women have raised more than $100,000 and granted wishes like helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon and adventures swimming with dolphins to sixteen mothers.

Laura Downing*

Laura Downing*

LeeAnne Locken*

LeeAnne Locken*

After grazing the desert bar and sipping a cocktail, the glamorous Gina Ginsburg, Jennifer Gaydos-Hartman, Chuck Steelman, Melissa Roundtree, Dawn Mellon, and Amber LaFrance took their seats and all eyes turned to Mistress of Ceremonies and “Real Housewives of Dallas” cast member LeeAnne Locken. Her jovial opening question, “If you don’t know me, where have you been?” started off the night on the right note. She introduced gala chair Laura Downing who thanked sponsors before relinquishing the mic to Ally’s Wish President Missy Phipps.

“When dreaming up Ally’s Wish, I asked myself, what would want if I were dying? And the answer was obvious; memories and time with my children,” Phipps said. “Getting to know these strong moms is rewarding and bitter sweet.  We get to be in their lives long enough to grant their wish, and it’s a precious time that we don’t take for granted.”

Esé Azénabor's 2016 Collection*

Esé Azénabor’s 2016 Collection*

Carmen Surgent*

Carmen Surgent*

After Phipps’ heartfelt remarks, Locken announced the organization was only $40,000 away from reaching their goal of granting eight more wishes. After dozens more raffle tickets sold out in minutes, the house lights were dimmed and the models prepared to strut the runway. The young designer recently showcased her 2016 spring collection, Garden of Eden, at New York Fashion Week, but guests were in for a special treat as they got an exclusive preview of the Fall 2016 looks. Cheers ensued as the runway host, Carmen Surgent, sported an incredible gown that would turn heads at Chrystal [sic] Charity Ball. Azénabar’s designs were met with a standing ovation, and as she thanked friends and family, guests bid their farewells and headed to the valet line.

* Photo credit: Bob Manzano and Thomas Garza Photography

MySweetWishList: Ally’s Wish

According to Ally’s Wish Co-Founder/Treasure Melissa Cary,

Ally's Wish*

Ally’s Wish*

“Ally’s Wish is a non-profit organization formed to provide a last ‘wish’ to young, terminally ill mothers with young children. Our goal is to provide a memory for the family that will last a lifetime during the most difficult time in their lives. Our hope is to achieve this by providing services, gifts, transportation, lodging, or any other ‘wish’ the mother may have. All money donated goes toward a mom’s wish. And our current budget for each wish is about $5,000.

“We have been able to send families to Hawaii, Disney World, and the Grand Canyon. Some other wishes we have had the privilege of granting have been to publish a blog, repair a van for a mom’s handicapped daughter, and we are currently in the process of landscaping a backyard into a memory garden. We want to give each mom the opportunity to dream big! So that’s what Ally’s Wish is all about, making those final days and moments special.

“Please visit our website to learn more about how you can help:

“You can mail in a donation to P.O. Box 270935, Flower Mound, TX 75027 or call 469.261.8990 or email Missy Phipps.

“You can also make an online donation on our website or even refer a new mom. You can help make a difference!

-Melissa Cary, Ally’s Wish co-founder/treasurer

* Photo provided by Ally’s Wish