"She has been a ray of sunshine all throughout her life," her mom Rochelle added. "She's got a huge smile with huge dimples to go with it."
A smile is sometimes the best medicine for the children being treated in the behavior wing of the Children's Hospital, including her brother Rodney. Allyson began volunteering there after he was diagnosed with Prader Willi Syndrome. "I had so much fun with my brother. I decided to keep on coming." Ally continued, "I met more kids and more kids and they seemed to make me even more happy while I make them happy."
Rodney's condition can cause dramatic mood swings and often destructive, sometimes dangerous behavior. "It's a struggle, every day every minute," Rochelle said. "With Rod, my husband has to sleep next to him for him to be safe."
"At some points my mom and I have a password if things go bad," Allyson added. "With my friends or my sister and I would go into a different room. Sometimes things can go really bad."
The program gave Allyson and her brother a safe place to play. "Rodney seemed to have a lot of fun having friends there and having me there interacting with him. He seemed to really like it."
Through the program she also met other "siblings"–brothers of sisters of kids in the program, who were often dealing with the same issues. Ally would often talk to Michael. "He had an autistic sister and I had a Prader Willie brother and some things were alike. We would talk about how some things were different and some things were alike," she explained.
"(At first) he said he didn't have very many friends," she continued. "But the last time I saw him he said he's got a lot more friends at school."
Please join 9NEWS and College In Colorado in congratulating Allyson Vance, a 2008 9Kid Who Cares.
(Copyright K*USA TV, All Rights Reserved)