Community donation

In March 2021, Temple philanthropist Allison Dickson, left, donated a game cart and gaming bundle, along with a monetary donation, to Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center as Elizabeth Bender, a Child Life specialist, looks on.

With the Child Life room at the Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center closed indefinitely in response to COVID-19, Allison Dickson is eager to provide its patients fun alternatives through her annual holiday fundraiser.

“Child Life has retired a game cart, and has asked Alli and her elves for help,” Dickson, a Temple philanthropist, said. “Our goal is to raise enough money for a moveable Xbox game cart and gaming bundle — a system that the patients have never had. This is a way to bring fun and a moment of normalcy in difficult circumstances.”

Dickson said an Xbox game cart and gaming bundle is priced around $6,000 — the second such item sought for the hospital.

“This gift will last for patients not just through the holidays but for years to come,” she said. “Also, elementary and teen patients are often overlooked when it comes to donated items, so it fills that gap.”

Dickson, who will be collecting monetary gifts until Dec. 5, said donors can reach her by phone at 254-624-9349 or by email at Alli91879@aol.com.

“Simply message me and I’ll tell you where to send your gift,” she said. “Let’s make some magic happen.”

Dickson added how funds raised also will be put toward scholarships for students attending the Temple Independent School District, Southwestern University and Baylor University Law School.

“Additional gifts will go to the most pressing everyday needs of the Child Life team as well as the Allison Dickson Scholarships: Temple Proud, Southwestern Tri Delta and Baylor Law,” she said. “These scholarships help deserving students continue to reach their academic goals.”

Last year, Dickson said she cried when her fundraising goal was last shattered.

“Through gifts by the community, we purchased the game cart valued at almost $6,000, made a monetary gift to the Child Life Department of over $9,000, and donated $3,800 among my three scholarship funds,” she said in March.

Dickson is hopeful this year’s efforts can be just as successful.

“COVID continues to impact our world, but the children still need our love now more than ever — especially during the holidays,” Dickson said. “Thank you for your continued support. I know ‘Alli’s Elves’ can make this happen.”

Dickson has faced her own challenges through the years, having lived with Werdnig-Hoffman, spinal muscular atrophy, since she was 15 months old. A GoFundMe page this year raised money for improvement to her home after her mother, Johnnie Dickson, showed symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.