Ali’s Story

Dear Friends,

Alyson was our only child; we thought that we would have more, however the time was never right. Not that I regret that for I could not have asked for a more special child, she was the apple of my eye. We did everything together, outside of my wife, she was my best friend. Alyson was extremely athletic, however her passion and refuge was her art. She could take a smashed old radiator and turn it into something beautiful; she had an eye for that. Her adolescent years were unbelievable! We had great fun playing basketball and I loved watching her play in high school. She could always make me smile!

However her teen years were a different story, things started to change. At first we wrote it off as her being a teenager, nonetheless we found out it was much worse. Alyson’s first diagnosis was Bipolar, and treatment started. Her second diagnosis was Schizophrenia, and treatment continued. Finally Alyson was diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder, which is a combination of bipolar and schizophrenia, and new treatment continued. At this time there were good days and very difficult days. During Alyson’s illness, there were many times when she would not accept a hug or allow me to comfort her to make it a little better. Life would never be the same!

During that time, we appreciated all the resources and support that were available in our community but for young adults resources became more difficult to come by.

Did you know that One in four adults—approximately 57.7 million Americans—experience a mental health disorder in a given year. One in 17 lives with a serious mental health issues such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder1 and about one in 10 children live with a serious mental or emotional disorder.2

Ali’s Hope Foundation was set up to help provide resources for programs that help assist young adults with mental health issues, a lot of these programs are not being funded by government or insurance carriers.

Alyson, the day before she died gave me a hug and said, “Dad, you can give me a hug.”

I know Alyson is smiling down on us for your work and generosity!

Thanks for your support,

Joe Gallagher

1 “NIMH: The numbers count—Mental disorders in America.” National Institute of Health. Available at

2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, Md., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services,1999, pp. 408409, 411.

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