In Loving Memory of Allie
Our beautiful and loving daughter, Allison Elizabeth Herf, passed away on Monday, July 5th. Allison was only 44 years of age. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer in November of 2017. At that time, her cancer had already metastasized to her liver. Allison responded that she would "BEAT IT" and fought the most horrific and courageous battle of her life for three years and eight months. After many surgeries for colon, rectum, and liver cancer, Allison was diagnosed with brain cancer. She was told that in ONLY 2% of colorectal patients does the cancer travel to the brain. Again, Allison put on her "game face" and was a willing participant in a brain cancer study.
In the Spring of 2021, Allison was experiencing excruciating pain in her spine, neck and shoulders. This piercing pain often led to her having "blackouts." Allison was told she had spine and bone cancer. There were more than eight tumors along her spine making it very difficult for her to walk, sit, or lie down.
Allison was born on April 15th, 1977 and grew up in Paradise Valley, AZ. She was a beautiful swimmer and enjoyed running in track events, but she excelled most as an equestrian. Allison, in 1992, was Arizona's Junior 3 Day Eventing Champion. All students at Xavier High School were required to volunteer 50 hours per month with a charity of their choosing. Allison chose Horses Help because she loved horses and she loved children. When it was time to go to college, Allison chose A.S.U. and was accepted into the Frank Lloyd Wright's School of Design. By her junior year, Allison was ready to spread her wings a little further and transferred to San Diego State University's School of Art. Allison was fortunate to have an internship with the legendary Rob Quigley in San Diego and as she progressed in the design field, Allison became the Director of Design for Parker Rose Design in San Diego.
The Cancer Fight
After fighting such an incredible battle to live AND BEAT ALL of her cancers, on June 24th, Allison's body was failing her. Once weighing 105 lbs. she was now barely 85 lbs. Allison never voiced a word about "giving up her fight". Allison agreed to a few "life saving" procedures in the emergency room at UCSD. She was then was returned to her ICU room where Charlie, our daughter, Lindsay, myself, and many close friends came to hold her hand, tell her we loved her and how very proud we all were of her incredible personal strength. We were all beyond broken. For eleven days Allison breathed on her own while we never left her side. Charlie, Lindsay and I stayed with her night and day, just talking to her and telling her over and over again, how very proud we were of the battle she fought and how very much we loved her. Despite her failing body, her heart was so strong.
We are broken hearted that she is gone from our lives. The fact that she is no longer in pain is our only consolation. We often talked about a time in the future when the treatments she had gone through would be thought of as "barbaric", that medical research scientists needed to get the attention of the public and the insurance companies through better "early detection" tests for cancers.
There is another endeavor that Allison supported wholeheartedly based on her sister's passion, the Arizona Justice Project. The AJP is a non profit organization who's purpose is to obtain post conviction relief through DNA or obtaining release for people wrongly convicted and incarcerated. Allison's wish was to assist those who have had their freedom restored and can return to the "outside" world, but need rehabilitation. Allison was all about helping others and her vision was to create a therapy that would involve animals and horses to help those exonerees re-enter society.