Fort Bend Star Newspaper Shares Alyssa’s Story

The Fort Bend Star newspaper of Fort Bend County, TX shared Alyssa’s story about her cancer journey, her wish for water wells, the Alyssa Ferguson World Changers Fund, and the FBISD naming of a new elementary school.

The text of the article follows:

New FBISD elementary school to bear name of late student

  • By Matt deGrood, Fort Bend Star
  • Apr 19, 2022
Alyssa Ferguson
Alyssa Ferguson, pictured in an orange dress, is surrounded by her parents, Scott and Sandy, and sister Jenna. Contributed photo

Fort Bend County residents and leaders in the days since the school district announced its 54th elementary school would be named after Alyssa Ferguson shared remembrances that wouldn’t be out of place discussing famous figures from the county’s past.

But whereas many of the district’s other schools are named after former board members, educators or famous county figures, Alyssa Ferguson Elementary School’s namesake is a former student who left her mark on the district before her untimely death in 2017 from cancer.

“As a committee, we felt Alyssa’s life provides a great example to our students on how they can utilize the profile-of-a-graduate attributes in serving as compassionate citizens and servant leaders,” FBISD board President Dave Rosenthal said.

The board of trustees recently approved the school’s name at a board meeting. Alyssa Ferguson Elementary School is set to open in the fall of 2023 at 13000 Heritage Park Drive in Missouri City, near the Sienna neighborhood that Ferguson called home during her lifetime.

Ferguson, who died at age 15, also impressed scores of Fort Bend County leaders and residents when she opted to use her Make-A-Wish to help build a well for a village in Africa.

“It’s an honor,” said Sandy Ferguson, Alyssa’s mother. “It’s been five years since she passed, and to know she’s still remembered and had such an incredible heart is an incredible legacy. Every kid who walks through the doors of the school will have a chance to see what she has done and realize that, even as a kid, they can make a difference in the world, in their school and in their communities.”

The Ferguson family had only moved to Fort Bend County in August 2013, and Alyssa Ferguson enrolled at Baines Middle School in FBISD, her father, Scott Ferguson, shared with the Fort Bend Star last week.

From the beginning, Alyssa Ferguson was cut from a different cloth than many other students.

“She always had a heart for others,” Scott Ferguson said. “Even as a little kid, when we’d pass someone who was homeless, she’d always say, ‘We have an extra room, why can’t they just stay with us?’”

Alyssa Ferguson was diagnosed in January 2014 with medulloblastoma, a brain tumor with an 80 percent treatment success rate, Scott Ferguson said.

“We just never dreamed we’d be in that 20 percent,” he said. “You assume those 20 percent are those with additional medical issues.”

While doctors have a lot of success against the type of tumor, they only have one treatment for it, Scott Ferguson explained. If that doesn’t work, there aren’t many other options, he said.

Over coming months and years, Alyssa Ferguson’s life became a series of radiation treatments, doctors’ visits and surgeries, Scott Ferguson said.

But through it all, Alyssa Ferguson remained devoted to school and maintaining a positive attitude, he said.

“She became friends with all the other kids going through treatment,” he said. “There was one boy there from China who didn’t speak English. She didn’t speak his language, so she downloaded a language app and became friends with him. He came to the house for dinner one time.”

And even as more of her time became occupied with trips to doctors and trials in Boston and elsewhere, Alyssa Ferguson worked to keep up at school, her family said.

“She kept fighting and kept going to school the entire time,” Scott Ferguson said. “She made good grades, was in band and involved in church and her youth group. She stayed active all the way until she went into hospice.”

Some of Alyssa Ferguson’s actions during her battle with brain cancer left an indelible impression on elected leaders in Fort Bend County as well.

“I learned about this incredible young lady when I heard what Alyssa did with her wish from Make-A Wish Texas Gulf Coast and Louisiana,” former U.S. Rep. Pete Olson said.

Where many children use their make-a-wish to meet a favorite athlete or visit somewhere, Alyssa Ferguson opted to use hers to build a well in a village in Zimbabwe called Murehwa.

Alyssa Ferguson came up with the idea because, years earlier, she’d read a book called “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park and decided this was her opportunity to help, Scott Ferguson said.

“Amazingly, she told Scott and Sandy that, ‘The only reason I got this wish is because I got sick. I should use it to help someone. I didn’t earn it,’” Olson said.

Alyssa Ferguson’s family held out hope that she would eventually recover and they would all take a visit to the village, they said. But the Fergusons ended up making the journey after Alyssa’s death, where they discovered what a difference the well made in the lives of the villagers, they said.

“It was just beautiful to see how water was changing the whole village,” Scott Ferguson said.

The population of the village has almost doubled in the years since, and more children have been able to attend school because the well sits next to a school, Scott Ferguson said. Before, they had to spend their days traversing to a water hole, but now can attend classes and fill jugs of water on their way home, he said.

To keep their daughter’s memory alive, the family has set up a foundation to continue building wells, Scott Ferguson said. The foundation is called the Alyssa Ferguson World-Changers Fund, and it has helped build eight wells and counting across the world, including ones in Myanmar, India, Haiti and South Sudan, Scott Ferguson said.

Now, the Fergusons hope that generations of students will have the opportunity to learn from their daughter’s example, they said.

And the Fort Bend County community was unanimous in agreeing the honor was well-deserved.

“For those of you that never knew Alyssa, I want you to know this is a beautiful recognition from Fort Bend Independent School District,” said Sugar Land Councilperson William Ferguson, who is not related to Alyssa.

The link to the original article can be found here.

Community Impact Newspaper Shares Story About the Naming of Alyssa Ferguson Elementary

Community Impact Newspaper published a story about the naming of the new Alyssa Ferguson Elementary. The original story follows:

Fort Bend ISD board of trustees names new elementary school after student who died

The Fort Bend ISD board of trustees stand with Scott and Sandy Ferguson (center), whose daughter, Alyssa Ferguson, died in 2017 after a battle with medulloblastoma and now has a new elementary school named after her. (Courtesy Fort Bend ISD)
The Fort Bend ISD board of trustees stand with Scott and Sandy Ferguson (center), whose daughter, Alyssa Ferguson, died in 2017 after a battle with medulloblastoma and now has a new elementary school named after her. (Courtesy Fort Bend ISD)

Author: Community Impact Newspaper Hunter Marrow | 4:30 PM Apr 12, 2022 CDT

Image description

In a unanimous vote, the Fort Bend ISD board of trustees has named a new elementary school after one of the district’s former students.

The elementary school, scheduled to open in fall 2023 at 1300 Heritage Park Drive, Missouri City, is named after Alyssa Ferguson, who died in January 2017 as a freshman at Ridge Point High School after a battle with medulloblastoma, a brain cancer, according to an April 11 FBISD agenda report.

Ferguson, who lived in the Sienna community, was first diagnosed with the cancer while enrolled at Baines Middle School at the age of 12, according to an April 11 news release from the school district.

The naming comes due to Ferguson’s character and sense of giving while in the midst of her battle with cancer, according to the district’s news release. When asked what wish she wanted to receive from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Ferguson replied, “The only reason I got this wish is because I got sick. I should use it to help someone. I didn’t earn it.”

Instead, Ferguson used her wish to dig a well in a village in Zimbabwe that did not have access to clean water. Since then, eight wells have now been dug because of the mission Ferguson started, according to the news release.

Per board policy, FBISD established a committee to select a name for the new school in early 2022; the committee was comprised of teachers, parents, community representatives and district staff along with FBISD Board President Dave Rosenthal and FBISD Board Member Kristin Malone.

“As a committee, we felt Alyssa’s life provides a great example to our students on how they can utilize the Profile of a Graduate attributes in serving as compassionate citizens and servant leaders,” Rosenthal said in the news release.

Ahead of the school opening in fall 2023, Carla Patton will serve as the school’s principal beginning in January 2023. Patton was named the school’s principal by the district’s board of trustees on April 11.

Link to original story above can be found here.

KHOU Shares News About Alyssa Ferguson Elementary

Houston area TV station KHOU aired a news story about the new Alyssa Ferguson Elementary School. The video and web story are below.

‘This is an incredible honor’ | Fort Bend ISD to name new school after philanthropic teen who died of cancer

Alyssa Ferguson’s mom says she hopes students at the school learn from her daughter’s legacy.

KHOU Author: Jason Miles
Published on KHOU: 5:44 PM CDT April 12, 2022

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas — Fort Bend ISD elementary school #54 is still a work in progress in the Sienna area. But the building set to open in the fall of 2023 will no longer be known by just a number.

The board of trustees voted Monday to name the new school after Alyssa Ferguson, a teen who died of cancer. 

“She continues to have an impact on the Sienna community and beyond,” said board chairman Dave Rosenthal.

Ferguson’s lengthy battle with a brain tumor ended just after her 15th birthday. She was in her freshman year at Ridge Point High School.

“You know, it’s been five years since she passed away,” said mother Sandy Ferguson. “And so this is an incredible honor that they have bestowed on us and on her.”

Sandy said Alyssa was born with a giving spirit. During her cancer battle, she used her Make-A-Wish Foundation wish to drill a well in Zimbabwe for those without access to clean water.

The Alyssa’s World Changers Fund, with the help of others, is now responsible for drilling eight wells and counting.

“In Haiti, in India, in Africa, Myanmar,” said Sandy. “Just all over.”

There’s not a day that goes by that Sandy doesn’t think about Alyssa.

“Not one,” said Ferguson. “And some days are harder than others.”

But she says her daughter’s short time on earth made an impact worth remembering.

It will no doubt set an example for those who eventually attend the new school.

“And it’ll be great to see her name on the school and all those kids who wondered who Alyssa Ferguson was. Now they’ll know,” said Sandy. “Maybe they’ll decide to be world changers too.”

The original link to the above KHOU news story can be found here.

Mark Lowry Shares Alyssa’s Story on his “Just Whenever” Show

Mark Lowry is a Christian musician, comedian, and songwriter. He is best known for being a member of the Gaither Vocal Band and for writing the newly classic Christmas song “Mary, Did You Know?“.

Today, Mark interviewed Alyssa’s parents on his “Just Whenever” show and shared her story with his audience.

The episode is posted here. You are encouraged to enjoy the entire episode. The portion where Mark talks about Alyssa begins at the 19:50 mark.

The Alyssa Ferguson World Changers Fund is grateful to Mark Lowry for sharing Alyssa’s story and to the many new donors who have responded to this episode with a gift to Alyssa’s Fund.

Alyssa Featured for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

The Honorable Pete Olson, former U.S. Congressman and long-time resident of Fort Bend County wrote a feature story in the Fort Bend Focus for Childhood Cancer Awareness month featuring Alyssa Ferguson and Faris Virani. The regular “Fort Bend Strong” column is a highlight of the magazine.

The text of the article follows….

Childhood Cancer Creating Fort Bend Strong Warriors

Posted on Sep 28, 2021 in FORT BEND STRONG

Warning! My column this month may make you cry. My eyes have watered a lot as I’ve been writing. As parents of two amazing children, Nancy and I have been truly blessed. Kate and Grant are happy and healthy adults. We thank God every day for these blessings. We have never heard the four most frightful words a parent can hear: “Your child has cancer.”  We have friends who have heard these horrifying words. These incredible neighbors have held their child as he or she breathed their last breath before going to heaven. These parents watched their amazing child use their last days on earth to make our world a better place. They saw their loving child show exactly what it means to be Fort Bend Strong!

July was Sarcoma Awareness Month. Sarcoma is called “the forgotten cancer” and is a cancer of our body’s connective tissue. It can occur in nerves, muscles, tendons, joints, bones, fat and blood vessels. Sarcoma is much more likely to attack children than older adults.

Despite being very rare, Ewing Sarcoma is the second most common bone cancer in children. On average, about 300 kids are diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma per year in the United States. A few years ago, my fellow Rice Owls, Sugar Land neighbors and dear friends, Dr. Asha Virani and her husband, Farid were told that their young son, Faris, had aggressive Ewing Sarcoma. Faris was only six-years-old.

Incredibly, Faris responded to his Ewing Sarcoma diagnosis with a new mission for his life. He told Asha and Farid that he was going to be the one to cure Ewing Sarcoma! Faris could not believe that no real research to cure Ewing Sarcoma had been done since the 1950s. Faris was personally going to fill that research void. Faris is Fort Bend Strong!

At the start, Faris was asymptomatic with only a low-grade fever of 99’F. He was in no pain. When he finally received a CAT scan, the results were frightening; Ewing Sarcoma was in every bone in his body. It didn’t matter to Faris – he had a new life mission. He raised $1,000 for Ewing Sarcoma research. He put all that money into his tiny piggybank and told Asha and Farid that he was going to use every penny to “open a research center.”  Those words became reality. Faris’ parents and friends gave $2 million to start the “Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center” at Texas Children’s Hospital. It is the only dedicated Ewing Sarcoma center in the United States. Faris was at the ribbon cutting ceremony on February 13th, 2014.

Before Faris left us after nine glorious years, he had one more task to finalize his efforts to end Ewing Sarcoma. Faris had observed that many cancers had colored ribbons – breast cancer has pink ribbons, pancreatic cancer has purple ribbons, etc. Faris thought that Ewing Sarcoma should have its own colored ribbon. So, “Let There Be Gold” was born. Mission accomplished. My puppy, Maisy, and I are proudly “Letting There Be Gold” in Faris’ honor and legacy. Faris Virani is and will always be Fort Bend Strong.

And since September was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I’d like to also share the story of an incredible young lady who I discovered while I was in Congress. Two short days after Alyssa Ferguson turned 12-years-old, she and her parents were informed that she had “medulloblastoma” – brain cancer that was likely terminal. Alyssa fought her cancer for three years. Sadly, she put on Angel’s Wings on January 26th, 2017, at her home in Missouri City with her parents, Sandy and Scott, by her side.

Sandy and Scott knew that they raised a daughter who had an unbounded love of life. They knew Alyssa always cared more about others than herself. But, no one could see what Alyssa was going to do to make her short life matter. As Alyssa’s battle waged on, she was approached by our wonderful, local Make-A-Wish Foundation about her personal and likely final wish. Usually, people in these situations focus on themselves. Common wishes are “I want to go to Disneyworld” or “I want meet a famous sports hero” or “I want to go to Hawaii and lie in the sun on a tropical beach.”  These wishes are completely normal and understandable. They are human. If I was in Alyssa’s situation, I most likely would have made a wish for myself. Many of us would do that as well. Not Alyssa – Alyssa is Fort Bend Strong!!!

As a young girl, Alyssa had read a book called, A Long Walk for Water. It was about Sudanese children walking miles just to get drinking water. That story never stopped inspiring Alyssa.  Facing her own mortality, Alyssa asked Sandy if her wish could be given to others. Sandy and Scott supported their daughter. Make-A-Wish supported Alyssa’s wish, too. So, Alyssa’s wish was used to build a drinking well for a small village in Africa. What started out as one well in Zimbabwe has now grown to three drinking water wells in Myanmar, one in India, one in Haiti, and one in Kenya, with one under construction in war-torn South Sudan. Alyssa dreamed of taking a drink of water from one of her wells, but when her condition prevented her from traveling, she told her mom, “They need water now.  Go ahead and build it without me, and we’ll get to visit later.” Alyssa had a calling. Her name, “Alyssa Janae,” means “God has answered.” Amen. During her short, incredible life, Alyssa answered God’s calling for people in need in Africa and Asia.  Alyssa Janae is Fort Bend Strong!

I hope you were inspired and grateful for Faris and Alyssa. Please wear a gold ribbon for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month every September. Faris’ parents set up the Faris Virali Foundation to help end Ewing Sarcoma at Maybe you can sign up to play in next year’s Faris Foundation Brighter Days Golf Classic.

Alyssa’s story is immortalized with a display at our local Make-A-Wish office at 12625 Southwest Freeway in Stafford. If you want to help Alyssa drill more water wells, her parents set up the Alyssa World Challenge at Check it out, and stay Fort Bend Strong!

That’s all for this month. I hope Faris’ and Alyssa’s stories of perseverance and love for others touched your heart. If you have a Fort Bend Strong story, please zip me an email at If your email is political, it is instantly deleted.

Until next month, we are Fort Bend Strong!

The link to the original story can be found here.

Texas Tech Pitcher Donates Hair to Charity in Honor of Alyssa


FOX34 Lubbock published the following story about Alyssa’s cousin, Connor Queen, donating his hair to charity in her honor. The original story is quoted below:

Texas Tech baseball head coach Tim Tadlock is not only leading the Red Raiders to success on the field, but he’s teaching them how to make a difference off of it.

While pitcher Connor Queen was a key piece in the Red Raider’s second straight trip to the College World Series, the right-hander had plans after the season. He donated his hair to Pantene’s “Beautiful Lengths”, and his motivation is clear.

“My cousin had brain cancer and she was diagnosed in 2012. She passed away in 2017 so obviously I wanted to remember her and honor her any way I can. I like to think I have pretty hair so I wanted to donate it,” Queen said. 

Along with his ability on the bump, Queen is also known for his long hair. Although it was his second year in a row chopping it off, it was still difficult. 

“Definitely didn’t want to do it. I sat on the chair for a while and then I sat there to take a deep breath and was ready to go,” Queen said. 

When it came down to a decision on which non-profit to donate to, “Beautiful Lengths” was the easy choice for Connor.

“They work with the American Cancer Association and I just assumed it would be easiest for them,” he said. 

So far, Pantene has donated more than 3,400 real hair wigs to the American Cancer Society’s wig banks. 

To donate, click here. Or you can support Connor’s cousin Alyssa’s fund, click here.

To see the original story, click here

Classmates Honor Alyssa’s Memory

The text and photos of this post are from A Shelter for Cancer Families, a charity near and dear to the Fergusons.

Go Gold 1

Families impacted by childhood cancer pose with Donny, Alex, and Zach before going on stage.

So proud of A Shelter for Cancer Families’ Ambassador Donny Phillips. When presented with an opportunity to showcase his talent at a high school event, Donny chose to use his platform to create awareness of childhood cancer and did he ever! Even the Houston floods couldn’t dampen the PURE GOLD that shown brightly last night. Donny recruited his friends Alex & Zach to join him. They surprised the entire audience when they dedicated their performance to their late classmate Alyssa Ferguson. World Changers (a song written about Alyssa by Christian musical artist Matthew West) played as the trio welcomed the Ferguson family and others in the community affected by childhood cancer onto the stage. Donny held Felipe “Pipe” Muyshondt (who is currently battling the same type of brain tumor that Donny’s younger brother and cancer survivor, Jake survived five years ago) as the song played. Truly a golden moment, none in the audience will soon forget.

Go Gold 2

Zach, Donny, and Alex in their GO GOLD costumes

Here is a short video of their performance:






Miracle on the Seas

More than one year ago, the Fergusons booked a family cruise to get away and awaited for Spring Break 2019 to arrive so they could sail away on the high seas.  They had a great time but the best part — a miracle on the seas!

One evening, they were sitting outside on the deck of the ship visiting with another couple when a waitress came up to check on everyone. Looking closer, the Fergusons noticed her name tag said she was from Zimbabwe. They told her they had been to her beautiful country and all about the different cities and things they had seen. As the conversation continued, she asked why Zimbabwe? The Fergusons told her Alyssa’s story about her illness, her Make A Wish, and the first water well.

Then the question: “Have you ever heard of the village called Murehwa? That is where the well is.”

The answer: “I am from Murehwa!”

Everyone present started crying. It was a miracle on the seas! Far from Zimbabwe and far from America, in the middle of the ocean on a ship full of thousands, God brought hearts together. Meet Annah from Murehwa….

Annah Breakaway NCL

Alyssa Featured in Living Water International’s Annual Report

Living Water 2018-AnnualReview-CoverAlyssa and the Alyssa Ferguson World Changers Fund were featured in the recently released Living Water International’s 2018 Annual Report. Alyssa’s Fund partnered with Living Water by providing a grant to construct a water well in India. Alyssa’s story and the Fund’s partnership is shared on page 15 of the printed report (page 9 of the PDF electronic report).

An excerpt of the story is below. To see the full report and the photos accompanying the story, go to the Living Water International 2018 Annual Report.

Report excerpt:

ALYSSA: WORLD CHANGER When she was a fifth grader, Alyssa Janae Ferguson read the book “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park. Even at a young age, she was passionate about finding a way to help those suffering from the water crisis. Not long after, such an opportunity arose—though not in the way she imagined.

Just two days after her twelfth birthday, Alyssa was diagnosed with medulloblastoma—a type of brain cancer. She fought hard against the cancer, undergoing multiple surgeries, radiation, many rounds of chemotherapy, stem cell transplant, and other treatments. Throughout this battle, her family and friends rallied support with a simple slogan: “Alyssa Wins.” Alyssa’s family often clung to the hope represented by the meaning of her name: “God has answered.” Despite all the hardship, they still trusted that God would provide answers.

During her illness, Alyssa was contacted by the MakeA-Wish® Foundation and offered an experience of her choosing. Alyssa was true to her calling to serve God and humanity. She gave away her wish as a donation to fund the construction of a safe water well for a community in Zimbabwe.

The story of Alyssa’s altruism touched many people’s hearts as it was told in churches throughout the United States. Contemporary Christian artist Matthew West wrote a song for Alyssa called “World Changers.” The lyrics of this song speak volumes about Alyssa’s vision: “From the ends of the earth to your hometown, to the lost, to the hurt, to the broke down, you’re the arms wide open, a love that’s showing every one of us the way…”

Alyssa fought bravely for three years and passed away last year at the age of 15. Her parents established the World Changers Fund in her honor. This fund partners with nonprofit organizations to sponsor the construction and repair of safe water wells. The World Changers Fund partnered with Living Water International to provide a well for a school in India. In the fight to protect children from thirst and waterborne illness, Alyssa won. Because of Alyssa’s vision and her family’s generosity, these students won’t have to suffer from the water crisis anymore.