Allison Dickson was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy called Werding-Norman but was diagnosed at 15 months when her parents noticed she was having trouble learning how to walk.
“Doctors told my parents at that point that I may live a year and so that's hard news to hear,” Dickson said.
But she surprised doctors by continuing to thrive as her disease progressed. Throughout school she had many friends, earned all A’s, was a Temple High School football sweetheart. But as graduation was in sight she began to worry about her future.
“Of course I always dreamed about like going off to school but you think how is that going to work," Dickson said. "You know my parents I need them to help me and I thought how are we going to figure out.”
Allison and her parents went to visit Southwestern and fell in love so they packed their bags and moved into a two bedroom apartment in Georgetown. Everywhere Allison went, even toga parties, her parents came with her and the family was welcomed with open arms. The next dream was Baylor Law School where she graduated number one in her class.
But in 2014 her family’s world was rocked when Allison spent five months in the hospital.
“To be honest I didn’t think I was going to make it," Dickson "It was an eye opener you know I never really let my muscular dystrophy or any of the other things that come along with my disease stop me from doing anything”
Allison said she wanted to leave something behind that would make a difference.
“What would I want my legacy to be how do I want my name to carry on and I think it may just be me but I think all of us hope that in some way we make a difference and that was my intention,” Dickson said.
So she decided to set up endowed scholarships in her name at both alma maters. One is for members of her sorority Tri-Delta at Southwestern and the next is for students at Baylor Law School.
"To be able to give that person a boost and help them achieve their dreams." Dickson said. "Someone like me because both places I enjoyed. I earned and was awarded scholarships through merit and through financial need so I really appreciate that and I hope this is kind of a way for me to pay it forward to the next person."
At a recent stay in the hospital her friend, a fellow Temple High grad and owner of Alamo Drafthouse Dallas Fort-Worth Bill Digaetano gave her a call.
“What if we do a movie night here in Dallas you know and donate the proceeds to the fund for the scholarship," Dickson said. "And I said that would be amazing that's a great idea but I can't really travel so I won't be able to be there”
Digaetano said he would bring the fun to her with his mobile 25 screen and concessions to Temple. The "As You Wish Movie" Under the Stars benefiting Allison's Baylor Law Scholarship in on Friday at the Temple Cultural Activities Center. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and "The Princess Bride" starts at dusk. The event will have an auction, activities for the kids, food trucks and drinks. Allison said admission is free but donations are gladly accepted.
She says she just wants students to have the same opportunity to learn and grow as she did.
“It's kind of a way for me to, I wouldn't say mentor, but hopefully be a possible influence in their life," Dickson said. "You know and I hope their plus to say I'm a recipient of the Allison Dickson scholarship and be able to kind of spread my story on and say what that means. Hopefully it means something to them .”
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