About Aly Fell
On February 11, 1994, a tiny child was born. She was named Alyssa. But, Alyssa was too long a name for this pint-sized child, and she was quickly dubbed Aly. And Lovey. And Poo-Bear. On the night of August 5, under the brilliant light of a full moon, in a grassy field on the side of the road with two dear friends by her side, Aly went to Heaven.
Aly filled her family’s home with joy. She was extremely artistic and when she needed down time she could be found on her parents’ bed making a mess as she created something colorful usually as a gift for someone. Aly also took her academics very seriously and earned perfect marks as a 4.0 student. She loved most subjects but especially enjoyed writing, math, science, and Spanish. She also enjoyed studying archeology, world cultures, ancient architecture, and everything science.
With her athletic ability apparent at a very young age, Aly’s mother enrolled her in gymnastics to save the family furniture. Aly loved gymnastics and won many medals along the way. She was state beam champ at age nine before breaking an arm at age 10. While rehabbing her arm, Aly became engrossed in watching the Olympics on television. While watching swimming, she suddenly said, “Momma, that’s what I want to do…. swimming!” Unconvinced, her mother took her to see Jim Williams, coach of the newly formed Team Dolphins. Coach Jim cringed watching Aly doggy paddle at tryouts, but he saw potential and invited Aly joined the team. He set a solid foundation under Aly that was built upon when Aly joined the Bellingham Bay Swim Team in the fall of 2007. Aly blossomed under Coach Todd Edison, whom she respected very much. And she knew Coach Todd could help her achieve her goal of one day swimming in the Olympics.
Fall 2008 brought Aly’s first high school season, which she embraced with gusto. As a 14 year-old freshman, she set three team records for Ferndale High School, and took first in Districts in the 100- yard backstroke, earning her a trip to 3A State as a freshman. Always focused on future goals, her fall 2009 ambition was to stand on the state podium as a sophomore. With Coach Todd’s help, Aly set a practice schedule that earned her the times needed to reach that goal even before her sophomore high school season began.
On August 1, 2009, Aly competed in her first open water race at Lake Padden. She hated open water, and didn’t want to take part but her beloved Coach Todd convinced her it was good to tackle her fear, and she trusted him. So she entered the cold water in her favorite royal blue suit alongside swimmers of all levels, dove in, and never looked back. Her good friend and fellow butterfly beast Donovan Brogan quickly pulled ahead of the entire pack, so Aly kept her sights on Donovan and, like any struggling athlete, dug deep within to give it her very best shot. Bystanders on the green slopes overlooking the lake on that beautiful summer morning all watched as the 5’3” fifteen year-old girl overtook first one swimmer, then more, and then the entire pack. Her determination to catch up to the 18 year-old Donovan paid off. Donovan was the first to reach the 5k finish line, and a seasoned master swimmer took second. Aly, the pint-size fifteen year-old in the royal blue swimsuit, was the very first female to cross the finish line, earning third place overall and first in her division and a treasured bobble head trophy that remains in her room to this day.
Known as Felly by her beloved teammates, Aly’s nickname changed that summer to Fierce Felly as her goals and determination kicked into high gear. Aly never let her small size slow her down. In fact, it caused her to work harder, accomplishing much in her short life.
On August 5, 2009, Aly and a handful of senior swimmers rose at 5:00 am for practice at Arne Hanna Aquatic Center before making the long drive to Federal Way to watch Michael Phelps compete in the qualifying U.S. Open. It was a day filled with light, love, and laughter among teammates before a tragic accident on the drive home forever changed their lives.
Many tokens from Aly’s beloved BBST team remain on display in her bedroom and, in the six years since that fateful night, her family has turned their tragedy into a legacy by comforting others around the world through struggle.
Fueled by the loss of her beloved pint-size daughter, Aly’s mother formed AlyBlue Media to house her growing endeavors that now take her around the country offering comfort, healing and hope to those in need. And when she needs to recharge her own battery, she finds comfort by quietly sitting in Aly’s room, surrounded by BBST memories.