After being diagnosed with Bell's palsy, 11-year-old Alanna 'Ally' Bell stayed committed to giving to her community by hosting a canned food drive on her birthday. Her act of kindness caught the attention of Buffalo hip hop recording artist, Conway the Machine.
What You Need To Know
- Girl with Bell's palsy held food drive on her birthday
- Buffalo rapper with same condition saw her story and reached out
- The two are now connected through perseverance
"What she was doing with the drive, the donations and the canned goods and stuff, it inspired me," said Conway the Machine. "I thought it was incredible."
Conway the Machine also connected with the fifth-grader on another level.
"We both have Bell's palsy (facial paralysis)," explained Ally Bell.
It's a temporary condition impacting around 40,000 Americans each year, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders. Conway the Machine's condition occurred after he was shot in Buffalo – yet he went on to achieve success in his musical career.
"Dealing with that and feeling how I was feeling and now signed to Shady Records and on tour and working with Jay-Z," Conway reflected, " I just want to show her [Ally] you're not alone in this."
The rapper says resilience in the face of adversity is always possible with these key things: "You just got to be strong-minded and keep God in your heart, and if you have a strong family you can overcome anything," he said.
Ally says she plans to continue the canned food drives on her birthday.
"I got spoiled this birthday, but I did give and I did receive, which I was not really expecting," said Ally. "I'm just so happy for everyone that came. I'm hoping that everyone else will smile."
For anyone dealing with insecurities surrounding the condition, Conway added, "We're beautiful, and it’s what's on the inside and not what's on the outside that matters."