KATY MAGAZINE NEWS November 10, 2019 By Ali Litton
Ally McCollam of Katy is on a mission. The Seven Lakes High School sophomore with Down syndrome encourages kids, and inspires people of all ages, to feel beautiful and empowered just the way they are.
Photo courtesy: J. Core Photography; Makeup and hair credit: Brandi Ann Beauty
16-year-old Ally McCollum is a typical teenager with an extraordinary vision. She advocates for the potential of people with Down syndrome and demonstrates through her own incredible feats that anything is possible with the right attitude, support and heart.
Amazing Young Girl
Ally’s been involved with the SLHS Spartanaires dance team, the Seven Lakes Best Buddies club, Special Olympics swimming, gymnastics, and soccer. She is also an active member of the National Charity League Star Chapter.
With energy to spare, and a drive to create a better world for everyone in it, Ally is living a tale of fortitude and be a guiding light in a world that can cast those who are different aside, leaving them in the shadows.
In the Spotlight
Two years ago, Ally attended the Be Beautiful Be Yourself fashion show with her dad, Mark McCollam. She immediately expressed interest in being involved with the show. This year, she got her turn. Last weekend, Ally and her family set out to Denver, Colorado. The young girl had earned her spot among 22 models to participate in the Be Beautiful Be Yourself fashion show.
Family supports Ally at fashion show. Pictured (left to right) Uncle Brad McCollam, Grandmother Betty McCollam, mother Maite, sister Lily, father Mark, Ally, Grandmother Hilda Tabernilla and Great Aunt Lourdes Tarafa.
Ally rocked the runway with actress Mikaela Hoover. The event raised $2.5 million for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. This is no small achievement - according to the foundation, Down syndrome is the least-funded genetic condition in the United States.
Speaking at the event, supermodel Amanda Booth said, “If Down syndrome is recognizable, then it will be familiar, and when something is familiar it is welcome.”
And that is all anyone really wants, to be welcome. Ally is doing her part to pave the way for others with conditions like hers just by being herself and not being afraid to shine.
Ally has been blessed with a supportive family. Ten years ago, she and her parents, and brother Shane (13) and sister Lily (8) moved from Florida to Katy. Her mom, Maite McCollum, says it has been a blessing to watch Ally grow in the Katy schools where she can be benefit from an inclusive education in Katy ISD.
Ally’s achievements show her tenacity and zest for life.
“I am most proud of Ally’s independence and her ability to make her own way - her personality, manner, genuine kindness and overall grace allow her to navigate situations and make friends who always have her back,” Maite shares fondly.
In addition to the relatives who support Ally, her mom appreciates the community that has helped them grow.
“Ally is who she is today because of the wonderful support she has received from the greater Katy community - thank you,” says Maite.
According to their website, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation is at the forefront of research, medical care, education and advocacy dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome. For more information visit their website.