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Meet Ally Gillen - 
MAEF Signature Scholarship Recipient

To this day, if you mention Ally Gillen’s name among O.H. Anderson staff you will see the admiration and affection that lingers in her teacher’s bright eyes and nodding heads. Ally, a 2017 graduate, was hospitalized for seven weeks as a 4th grader, and her teachers fondly recall her determination and resiliency throughout recovery and the three years of physical and occupational rehabilitation that followed her hospitalization. 

Ally Gillen has Dermatomyositis—an uncommon, inflammatory autoimmune disease—but it isn’t the disease that has directed Ally’s path in life; “My life has been touched by amazing people who have given selflessly of their time to make my days better.  Their kindness, compassion and willingness to help a perfect stranger have stayed with me.  I can only hope that as I leave Mahtomedi High School that I can do the same for others.” And she has.

Over the last eight years Ally has volunteered with her therapy dog, Mickey, at a Woodbury outpatient clinic, Children’s Hospital and Lighthouse, a senior care facility. She also serves as a member of the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of MN Youth Advisory Council (YAC). Now a freshman at UW River Falls, she is majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders with the goal of becoming a Speech Pathologist—“to work with children or elderly patients and provide compassionate care.”  

In 2017, MAEF provided thirty-six student scholarships, in total $49,000, to graduating Mahtomedi high school students like Ally Gillen. MAEF is committed to supporting educational pursuits like Ally’s goal to help people in any way she can.