Ali's Dream charity was set up by Alison Phelan's family and friends to raise funds for research into discovering the causes, advancing treatments and finding a cure for childhood brain tumours.

Sadly this was spurred on by the loss of Alison at the beginning of June 2001, three weeks before her eighth birthday. Ali was diagnosed with a brain tumour in August 2000. Her family did not give up hope, exploring many avenues to find their miracle cure. They discovered that there is very little research being undertaken in this particular cancer area. The chances of finding a cure in the next five years are very remote. What's more, after accidents, brain tumours are now the biggest cancer killer of children under fifteen.

Having lost Ali, the family are united in grief, but also united in the determination to do something so that a cure can be found sooner rather than later. The following have kindly agreed to be patrons: Lorraine Kelly (TV presenter), David Connolly (Republic of Ireland and Wigan footballer), Mr & Mrs Colin Montgomerie (Golfer), Susan Hampshire (Actress), Sheila Hancock (Actress)
Ali's Dream needs your help in the fight against childhood brain tumors by way of donation. If you would like to help us in this fight, please click on the button below and donate using Just Giving.

It only takes a minute and will help us more than you can imagine in our battle against this dreadful illness.

Everyone working for Ali's Dream is voluntary, therefore every penny donated goes directly towards research into finding a cure.

Please click on the button below.

Ali\s Story

Ever since we were married I dreamt of having children. When I found out I was having Matthew it was like my smile would never go away. Then two years later, with our second child on its way and Matthew wishing for a brother, my heart ached with happiness and Matthew's wish came true, a baby brother Graham and my smile got wider. Two years later our third child over due, I knew that this one would complete my family and three would be perfect. My boys kept telling me - Mum we know it's a sister. On the 25th June 1993 their prediction came true. My heart was full to bursting, 3 wonderful children and a happy marriage. How had I got it so right my life was a dream?

We sat in the house on that hot June day with satisfied exhaustion, looking at our new baby, whilst listening to the boys singing to the tune of a big ship sails about their sister.

As time went by life settled into a routine, it threw in its ups and downs - money troubles, the death of a cat and dog, the loss of our great aunt and grandparents. Amongst all this so many amazing times: holidays; outings; fun and laughter and most of all always love - there was so much love and togetherness.

Alison loved "Her Boys", she was a Daddy's girl, my best friend and companion, she was wildly possessive and protective of us all.

In June 1999 we lost our great uncle. He was tied to so many happy memories for me, he was the link to my wonderful aunt and they were a major part of my growing up and continued to play a big part now I had a family of my own. Alison adored him, he would endlessly count her skipping then fall asleep for 10 minutes and would wake up still counting, she would pretend she had skipped all that time.

When the news came to us that he had died Alison was so upset, she wanted to throw her quilt to the stars to keep him warm..

Life carried on but often she would talk about him, and he would visit her in her dreams.

Ali loved her school, St Josephs in Belmont, Harrow. She had lots of good friends, she loved being grown up like "Her Boys" and I started working in the same school when she joined. My first job since leaving to start our family.

The year 2000 approached, a new millennium and new beginning. New years always made me sad, looking back at our happy life wondering what was ahead.

In March my sister Penny had a little girl called Ashley, she was the apple of my three children's eye. Alison had a real live doll she loved to cuddle her and push her in her pram.

We booked a holiday with Penny Jon and Ashley to Portugal, it seemed like July would never come.

In May I became unsettled but didn't know why when my life was so complete. Then I became aware that Alison had developed a subtle incomplete movement in her eye that only a mother would notice. I took her to the doctor who referred me to an optician who said it was common and would correct itself.

Gary and I would talk and talk about it. I knew something was wrong. I went back to the doctor then to another optician. "Please someone listen to me" . I started to make Gary nervous, he knew I knew the children so well.

I went to a third optician - Gary was on a school trip with one of the boys but I went on the spur of the moment. I hated this feeling in my stomach telling me to act and act now !

They did test after test, and then told me to go to A&E with a letter that something was making the muscles in her eye deteriorate. Gary was only 5 minutes away; we dropped the boys off and went to the hospital. They said they couldn't see anything but told us to go to a leading eye hospital the next day.

A sleepless night. Gary and Matthew were due to go on a school trip for a week on the Sunday, which was Ali's 7th birthday - what were they going to find. They told us it was nothing, that the slight squint had always been there - that I was paranoid and Vain because my pretty little girl wasn't perfect (but to us no matter what, all our children were always perfect). The feeling it left was even more desperate than before.

While Gary and Matthew were away I would wait until Graham and Alison were asleep then turn my cupboards out looking for photos - any photos - to prove I knew my child and that she had never had a squint until now. Armed with my photos I went back to my GP yet again, he agreed to send me for a second opinion - at least he was listening. The phone calls between Gary and myself were desperate and he felt so far away, but we had three children and life had to go on for them all.

Our holiday came and it was perfect: sun; sand and sea in a beautiful villa and for the moment peace.

Our appointment came through for the end of August (so far off), we went to my sister's farm for the day. There were other things about Ali we weren't happy with and Sue my sister agreed.

In the middle of August we could wait no longer, in desperation we took her to the doctors yet again and she referred us to the children's unit at our local hospital for an appointment the next day. "I'm sure its nothing" she said.

Our hearts had become heavy - two parents who knew their children so well, but kept being doubted.

Test after test - eye test, blood test, walk along this line.... Always she laughed and joked with the doctors and nurses, they could see nothing wrong. "To be on the safe side we'll do a scan" they said . This scan destroyed us. We couldn't breathe - the words were buzzing through us. Holding hands we were watching through the glass of the doors, our 3 precious babies making faces to make us laugh..but the laughter never came.


We went to my parent's house. The world was spinning; how to act normal for the children; how to function; how to cope.

We had to go to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), but not today next week, the consultants don't get together until next week. They only meet on a Tuesday, wait, wait, wait - DON'T THEY KNOW THAT THIS IS OUR CHILD? She needs another scan - when? Today? No, not today. Tomorrow? No not tomorrow another day, we only make decisions on a Tuesday - don't they know this is our 7 year old child?

Another doctor at our practice telling us to "pull ourselves together" - DON'T THEY KNOW THAT THIS IS OUR CHILD? Telling ourselves "Don't let the children know - we have to protect them all". We went to GOSH anyway, we needed to speak to someone.

Armed with our scans and disbelief, my parents took us. They sat outside with Ali while we went in to the specialist. "There's nothing we can do - the tumour is untreatable" the rooms gone black and I'm sick in a bucket, strong arms are holding me. My Gary is white and staring. My perfect life has just gone in the bucket. Those strong hands belonged to someone who was to become one of Ali's and our dearest friends - a special nurse called Harry.

What followed is a blur to me. I would leave my beloved boys in the care of Penny, Jon and Ash. My Mum and Dad took us back and forth, over and over again, with Ali. Up and Down, Up and Down, to that hospital that does such wonderful things for others but to us became the most awful place in the world - telling us what we didn't want to hear. I couldn't bear my Mum having to catching me as I fainted over and over again. Gary taking Ali wherever she needed to go, my Dad by his side.

Scans, biopsies, bloods - over and over Gary so strong. Harry always there moving me on, making sure my feelings never showed in front of Alison. Between hospital visits we would run away to my sister Sue's farm, a place the children so loved to be. My uncle visited Ali again in her sleep, telling her she was ok .

Home for a while, what a relief Matthew started Secondary school, Graham went back to school. There were so many people helping us through; cooking dinners, taking the boys back and forward to school, listening, comforting, ironing, cleaning.

Keeping Alison amused - stickers and cooking with Nanny, shopping with Mama.

Every evening Gary would scour the Internet -searching, talking to hospitals abroad, looking after me - so desperate to make it all right again . His sister Carole, Jon, Sue and my brother Chris checking every avenue.

Radiotherapy followed. Up and down, up and down - waiting for trains - waiting for appointments - waiting to see a consultant, every day for 6 weeks - she was only 7 years old. She was so brave and was loved by all the staff. Our family, Gary's mum and dad, my parents, all took it in turns to come with us. I can remember it feeling so unreal, but always we kept up the laughter to keep it normal for the children and the love, so much of it, always love.

Friday was her special day, her best friend always came after school without fail to play. The happiness on a Friday, a special friend Friday was Daniday. The beginning of the weekend, her wonderful Daddy at home and "her boys".

She wanted a kitten - Daisy Pumpkin her perfect cat. She happily showed her off to her friends Arianne and Katie. Daisy followed her everywhere, sat on her shoulder while she was in the bath, slept on her chest in bed and sat in her jigsaw boxes while she endlessly did her beloved jigsaws, 1000 pieces, finishing one every few days.

Radiotherapy gave us so much extra time: Laughter in Lourdes shared by her Suey and Grandad: Florida such fun and warmth 'TOGETHER TIME' , An amazing swim with the dolphins a wish fulfilled. This was shared with Penny, Jon and Ash. Such special memories.

Following a great night at the Theatre that she so loved with Mama and Grandad - April brought my birthday and a nightmare - a haemorrhage into the tumour and two months to live - HAPPY BIRTHDAY. As she got more and more poorly "her boys" were always at her side, playing with her, helping her eat, fetching and carrying and always loving her - there was always so much love .

Such special people were there for us, but life was out of our control - all we could do was watch and continue phoning abroad, desperate to do anything.

Just before her 8th birthday on 7th June2001, in the early hours our lights went out - a bulb never to be replaced, a scar never to heal, a hole never to be filled, our jigsaw - a piece missing never again to be complete.

Like the words of so many songs going over and over in my head- I'd walk a million miles for one of your smiles, I have a dream, a song to sing, This little light of mine, It's a mad world, I want to thank you for the best days of my life. Tears ready to spill and a lump in my throat. A loneliness in a room full of people.

Our perfect boys keep us going, all being strong for each other in the love that she gave us. Their feelings so private, helping each other - FEELINGS SHARED TOGETHER - JUST US.

We were so loved by Our Special Angel, "her boys" so precious.

With her love of Dolphins,
her big heart,
and the end of her rainbow

is our Ali's Dream.

Ali's Dream

ACT - Against Childhood Tumours


On the 7th June 2001, we lost our precious daughter, she would have been eight on the 25th June.

When Ali was diagnosed with a brain tumour, on the 15 th August 2000, our whole world came crashing down, it was followed by ten months of hell on earth.

Alison showed us, and 'Her Boys', Matthew and Graham, such a love that was unique and will never leave us, along with so many wonderful memories. We are comforted by having had her for nearly eight years and knowing that she was happy and secure. She was so cherished, which shone through in the way she giggled with sparkling eyes that lit up her beautiful face.

Ali is now our very own angel, she has left us now four guided by a shining star.

Through all our pain we became so desperate we did whatever we could and we explored every avenue in an attempt to do anything.

Having lost the fight our whole family is now united in grief with determination to do something, so that a cure can be found sooner rather than later.