In October 2008, Alexis Ross was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Rather than dwelling on her misfortune, Alexis decided to turn this negative into a positive.
With the help of her family and friends, she formed the Alexis Ross Organization, a foundation dedicated to helping chronically ill children and their families. Her organization’s slogan is "Live for Today, Hope for Tomorrow, Laugh Often" or simply "Live, Hope, Laugh."
The mission of the Alexis Ross Organization is to provide financial assistance and moral support to families with children suffering from chronic illness. The foundation provides funds to help these families cover medical bills, buy groceries and pay their utilities, as well as presents for the children.
This past Christmas, the Alexis Ross Organization "adopted" three families through Carroll County Human Services. These three families all have chronically ill children.
Steve Lee, a friend of Alexis’ family, volunteered to dress as Santa and help the foundation distribute presents to the three children. One of the children is a six-year-old girl with Crohn’s disease, who said that the visit from Santa was, "the greatest feeling she has had in a long time," and that it, "warmed her heart and brought tears to her eyes."
All of Alexis' family members volunteer their time to support the foundation. Her mother Caroline Ross has spent countless hours helping Alexis with a lot of the organizational chores. Along with Alexis’ stepfather, Steve Tipton, Caroline is an integral part of the Alexis Ross Organization.
"Alexis shows a tremendous dedication to her organization," said Tipton. "She’s been a great inspiration to her siblings as well as her friends. I am proud of her accomplishments so far."
Alexis' older siblings, Timmy Ross, an 18-year-old senior at Westminster High School, and Ashley Ross, a 20-year-old student at Carroll Community College, also volunteer their time to help Alexis’ foundation. Both were present at a recent event, the "," a benefit for the Alexis Ross Organization.
The Battle of the Bands yielded more than $700 for the Alexis Ross Organization, and the next Battle of the Bands is already in the planning stages.
“I am so proud of Alexis. She is a great big sister," said Laura Tipton, Alexis’ seven-year-old sister.
Alexis has also raised money for her foundation with Alexis’ Barrettes, homemade barrettes she and her volunteers create and sell on-line for five dollars each. The barrettes are custom made, some with sports or motorcycle club themes. You can order the barrettes, as well as volunteer your time or donate money for the Alexis Ross Foundation here.
Last April, Alexis was interviewed by the LJ James Biker Low-Down Internet-radio show, which helped to boost barrette sales. She stays busy shipping barrettes across the country, from New York to Oregon. The Alexis Ross Foundation donates the net proceeds from Alexis’ Barrettes to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
On Super Bowl weekend, Alexis’ foundation conducted a bake sale. The net proceeds were used to buy boards games and pajamas for children at Sinai Hospital and Ronald McDonald House. Alexis is a trained volunteer and leader of a volunteer group at Sinai. Her ambition is to establish her own Live, Hope, Laugh House for chronically ill children and their families.
One of Alexis’ teachers, Ms. Diegel, has started a juvenile diabetes support group inspired by Alexis and her work. Many of Alexis’ friends, such as twelve-year-old West Middle student Taylor Lee, also lend their time and support to the Alexis Ross Organization.
Alexis Ross and her family prove that a few people can make a positive difference in the world around them. The volunteers that encounter Alexis cannot help but marvel at her accomplishments, especially at such a young age.
"I just want people out there to know that I want to help as many people I can," said Alexis. "This Christmas my goal is to adopt ten families and each year the numbers of families I help will increase. I may only be 14 but I am dedicated to helping others and making a difference in peoples lives."
The Alexis Ross Organization is truly helping to bring life, hope, and laughter to children with chronic illness.