Alyssa Janae (means “God Has Answered”) Ferguson was born on January 7, 2002, and passed away at the young age of 15 on January 26, 2017, after a courageous battle with Medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer.
Born in Abilene, TX to parents Scott and Sandy Ferguson, and being an older sister to Jenna, Alyssa and her family also lived in the Texas cities of Temple, Round Rock (Austin area) and Missouri City (Houston area).
On January 9, 2014, two days after Alyssa’s 12th birthday, Alyssa was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer. She underwent brain surgery, 28 days of proton radiation therapy, and nine intense inpatient rounds of chemotherapy. The therapy failed. Over the remaining time of her life, Alyssa attempted multiple attempts and therapies in her battle against the disease including; Stem Cell Transplant, Immunotherapy, Genetic Targeted Therapy, Clinical Trials, intense travel for treatment, six total brain surgeries, and participation in multiple clinical trials. Each time, the cancer would return until all options had been exhausted, culminating in her death at the age of 15 on January 26, 2017.
During the course of her battle, the Make-A-Wish Foundation (a charity that grants wishes and dreams to children battling life-threatening illness) offered Alyssa a wish. They encouraged her to dream big and reach for the stars to achieve any dream or wish she could imagine from travel, meeting celebrities, or anything else she could think of.
Alyssa chose to give her wish away.
She asked for a water well to be dug somewhere in Africa to help a village that was in desperate need of water.
As a 5th grader in Round Rock, Alyssa read a book called A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park. This book helped her see the need for wells throughout the world. Alyssa was also a fan of Contemporary Christian Music. One of her favorite songs was by Contemporary Christian singer Matthew West. The song was called “Do Something” and referred to people seeing all of the pain, hurt, and needs of the world and shaking their fists at Heaven and shouting “Do Something!” And in the song, Matthew sings that God answered, “I did. I created YOU!” She took this song to heart and asked for the well which was eventually dug in the village of Murewa, Zimbabwe in Africa.
Throughout her journey, Alyssa impacted literally thousands of lives as people watched her continuously overcome impossible obstacles, all while glorifying God and trusting in Him. At her death, many honored her by attending her funeral and thousands more sent messages of support and grief.
The Alyssa Ferguson World Changers Fund was established to help Alyssa’s legacy continue through the funding of construction for new water wells and for the repair or replacement of existing wells. The term “World Changers” comes from the song of the same title by Matthew West – the song inspired by and written in honor of Alyssa’s story on his “Live Forever” album.