How ‘Ally Project’ students think outside the box to honor Ally Baier

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

The students supervise children who are seriously ill and are treated at Children’s Mercy.

In 2018, 41 Action News interviewed Ally Baier, a girl battling glioblastoma cancer. The “Ally Project” is named after Ally, who had a passion for teaching.

She died of cancer in May 2020.

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

“They have science projects in them,” said Shawna Mazeitis, the hospitalized Children’s Mercy teacher. “Even while they’re in the patient, and then tinkering that they can do with it, just really great things.”

The boxes provide a colorful addition to the hospital stays.

“It’s really practical and they provide everything the patients need, so it’s really great 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, crazy, amazing creative ideas and I’ve feel like that sort of being performed.”

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

“It gives them a chance to be educated, no matter how sick they are, and it feels good to know that people are still being educated, even when they’re in hospital,” Ally said in a 2018 interview with 41 Action news.

Ally’s mother, Crysta Baier, said her daughter has always been resilient in her battle with cancer.

“Despite the difficult circumstances for a child, she never gave up,” said Crysta Baier. “I mean, she fought this cancer to the end, she didn’t stop living like a normal kid.”

When Ally passed away last May, her mother said it was difficult because she couldn’t celebrate her life normally. But last month they were able to celebrate her life and how she affected those around her.

“In May we finally did that, which gave me a lot of peace of mind, it was good,” said Crysta Baier. “But yeah, it’s been, it’s been tough.”

Although it has been an arduous journey for Ally’s mother and family, her legacy continues.

“Watching my own daughter be hospitalized and miss school is a good chance to make sure the kids in the hospital aren’t alone,” said Crysta Baier. “You feel happy. Still have a connection to some normality.”

“This honors, you know, a really wonderful patient who had a dream and had a dream of becoming a teacher,” Mazeitis said. “I think it’s really about resilience, and that’s what she had.”

Crysta Baier said her daughter learned life lessons beyond the Ally Project.

“Remember if your life is hard. Think about other people who have been through hard things and they don’t stop. I mean, Ally did hard things like nobody’s business. I mean, hard things that a 12,13,14 , 15- birthday should not have gone on,” she said. “And she did it with grace and a smile, and I think if she can do that, so can we, like maybe that’s her, even her best legacy.”

For more information about the Ally project, visit the website of the family created in Ally’s honor.

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