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How 'Ally Project' students think outside the box to honor Ally Baier

Ally Project
Posted at 9:21 AM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 11:08:41-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Ally Project is a program involving Olathe East High School students who are a part of the 21st Century Future Educators Academy.

The students tutor children who have serious illnesses and receive treatment at Children's Mercy.

Back in 2018, 41 Action News interviewed Ally Baier, a girl who was battling glioblastoma cancer. The "Ally Project" is named after Ally, who had a passion for teaching.

She passed away from the cancer in May 2020.

Students continue to honor her legacy by adding to the program. The newest addition is themed learning boxes for patients.

"They have science projects in them," Children's Mercy hospital-based teacher Shawna Mazeitis said. "Even while they're in-patient, and then crafts that they can do with it, just really amazing things."

The boxes provide a colorful addition to the hospital stays.

"It's really hands-on, and they provide everything that the patients need so it's it's really amazing and creative," Mazeitis said. "I just think Allie would absolutely love it. I know she would and I would, I wish I could hear more of her ideas because she always had some crazy, zany, great creative ideas and I feel like that's kind of being carried on. "

Ally Baier, the Harry Potter and Disney fan, made sure those patients were seen.

"It'll give them a chance to be educated no matter how sick they are and it feels good to know people are still being educated even if they're in the hospital, " Ally said in a 2018 interview with 41 Action News.

Ally's mom, Crysta Baier, said her daughter was always resilient in her fight against cancer.

"Despite some really tough circumstances for a kid, she never gave up," Crysta Baier said. "I mean, she fought this cancer until the end, she didn't stop living like a normal kid."

When Ally passed last May, her mother said it was tough because they couldn't have a normal celebration of her life. But last month, they were able to celebrate her life and how she impacted those around her.

"We finally did that this May which was, gave me a lot of peace, it was good," Crysta Baier said. "But yeah, it's been, it's been tough."

While it's been a tough journey for Ally's mom and family, her legacy continues.

"Watching my own daughter be hospitalized and miss out on school, it's a really good opportunity to make those kids who are in the hospital not feel alone," Crysta Baier said. "You feel happy. Still have a connection to some normalcy."

"This honors, you know, a really great patient that had a dream and had a dream to be a teacher," Mazeitis said. "I think really it's about resilience, which is what she had."

Crysta Baier said her daughter taught life lessons that went beyond the Ally Project.

"Just remember that when your life is hard. Think about other people who've gone through hard things, and they don't quit I mean Ally did hard things like nobody's business. I mean, hard things that a 12,13,14, 15-year-old should not have had to go through," she said. "And she did it with grace and a smile, and I think if she can do that, then we can too, like that's maybe her, even her best legacy."

For more information on the Ally Project, visit the family's website set up in Ally's honor.

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