Mrs. California, Tiffany Ellison of Folsom, believes dreams do come true. As she heads to the Mrs. America competition in Tuscon, Arizona on September 2, she holds fast to her belief that she will be crowned and her 10-year-old son, Connor will be healthy again. Connor was born with a deadly liver disease – congenital hepatic fibrosis – and may need a liver transplant.
Tiffany is doing all in her power to make one dream fuel the other.
Her motivation for winning Mrs. America is to use the national platform to encourage all Americans to sign up to give life to the nearly 100,000 people – like her son, waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.
“If Connor someday needs an organ donation, I’m not just going to sit back feeling sorry, I’m doing something,” says Tiffany. “I’ll use the national stage to encourage everyone to take just one minute – one minute, that could mean years of life for others – and sign up on their state’s registry. In our state, it’s the Donate Life California registry, and people can sign up either through the DMV when they get their driver’s license or online at: www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org.”
Both Connor and Tiffany know the power of believing you can bring about positive change, simply by envisioning your goals.
For Connor, that goal has always been to play football.
“His whole life he’s dreamed of playing football,” says Tiffany. “We live in a big football town, everywhere you turn, there’s football. Every Halloween Connor is the same thing – a football player.”
Tiffany feared Connor would never be able to be able to play. But, Connor, trained by his mother, believed otherwise.
Connor and his three siblings (aged 4, 12 and 16) all have a “vision” board in their respective rooms – a cork board where they put up pictures representing the hopes and aspirations they focus on for the future. Connor filled his board with football images – he even glued his face onto a player.
His mother couldn’t bear to tell him that the dream could never come true. Now, she’s glad she didn’t.
That’s because when the local newspaper picked up the story of Connor’s possible need for a liver transplant and his dashed dream of ever playing football – the folks on Folsom’s Youth Football League took notice.
“Someone from the football league called and said ‘Connor is what a Bulldog is – someone who has team spirit and heart. We want him to be an honorary team member – where he will practice, be in the team picture, have a jersey with his name on the back. And while he can’t play in the games, he’ll be there, in uniform – a Bulldog.’ I’m so glad I didn’t stop him from putting dream on his board and believing in it.”
And now Tiffany has on her vision board – a picture of her with a “Mrs. America” sash glued on it – and right above that, a Donate Life logo.
She hopes her vision of a healthy son will become America’s vision when she competes for Mrs. America.
“I can’t imagine if you put a face to the cause, how you could not want to help. It’s the right thing to do, it’s so easy, it’s so simple. It’s about giving life – to dreams.”