In May 2020, Keryann Estrela and her daughter, Hailey Angel Allard, 20, planned to graduate together from the College of Nursing & Health Sciences (CNHS), Estrela with a doctor of nursing practice degree and Allard with a bachelor of science.
Those plans were tragically derailed in August 2018 when Hailey’s car was hit by a speeding police cruiser as she was coming home from work, just a few hundred yards from her house. She had recently celebrated her 20th birthday.
Months later, Shannon Finning, vice chancellor for student affairs, reached out to Estrela to discuss a memorial service for her daughter. With support and enthusiasm from her family, friends, and the UMass Dartmouth community, Estrela created the Hailey Angel Allard Nursing Scholarship to honor her daughter’s memory. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a nursing student based on financial need and a minimum 3.0 GPA with preference for residents of Bristol County, MA.
Family, friends, and the UMass Dartmouth community come together to raise funds
Following an initial donation from Estrela, it was decided to hold a 5K color walk/run to raise the $25,000 needed to fund the endowed scholarship. Family, friends, Hailey’s classmates, and UMass Dartmouth staff pitched in to help organize the event.
Cynthia Cummings, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs; Patrick Manento, resident director; and Kim Carvalho, Estrela’s close friend, jumped in to arrange logistics and sell T-shirts, bracelets, and water bottles. Another friend, Cyndi Faiola, made tutus for the runners to wear and Hailey’s friends, Dana Buckley ’19, Liz Sartini ’20, Ali Shaw ’20, and Kayla Vivona ’20, designed the race logo and helped with planning the event and the memorial that followed. Dr. Karen Barnett, assistant dean of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences, also assisted in organizing the event.
A hard worker, it wasn’t unusual for Hailey to hold two jobs while attending school. When Hailey decided to live on campus, she got a job as an RA to help pay for her housing. Manento, her supervisor, had organized several 5Ks and this provided the perfect opportunity to get involved in something that would make a difference.
“I only knew Hailey for one semester, but she made a great impact on me,” he said. “Hailey was a ‘go-to’ student; she had an outstanding personality and was somebody students felt very connected to. This was definitely the right fit where I could help the family and the community.”
Hailey’s friends chose a color run to reflect her “bright, outgoing, and amazing personality,” Manento said. “It was a wonderful way to raise money and let people know how vibrant she was.”
Staff from the College of Nursing & Health Sciences and UMass Dartmouth’s Facilities, Residence Life, Conference and Events, Student Affairs, Dining Services, and Public Safety offices all pitched in to help with donations and set up the race.
More than 300 runners participated in the walk/run, held on April 28, at the Tripp Athletic Complex.
With proceeds from the run and other fundraising efforts, along with a generous donation from the university and the CNHS, the $25,000 goal was exceeded.
“I have helped to plan six 5K races,” said Manento. “To do this in such a small amount of time and raise so much money is truly unheard of. I’ve never seen a campus come together the way it did for this event. It’s a reflection of what a great person Hailey was and what good she would have done in this world.”
“People came out and did things you’d never expect. I never expected to raise the funds in the first year,” said Estrela. Her goal is to hold the race annually and raise enough money for a full scholarship. She’d love to have her younger sons take over the run in their sister’s memory.
“It was a privilege to support such a labor of love and to experience the joy of reaching a goal that seemed unattainable,” said Cummings.
After the race, a memorial service was held for Hailey, where her friends and mother shared their memories.
Estrela continues with her nursing studies
While it has been a struggle to remain in school after losing her daughter and both parents within 18 months, Estrela is determined to complete her DNP degree next spring. She has received strong support from her large family of eight siblings and her coworkers at Rhode Island Hospital’s medical-surgical floor, where she is a nurse.
“I’ve been blessed with a huge family,” Estrela said. “I work with amazing people. I wouldn’t be able to get here without their support and the support of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences. I’ve been blessed with friends and a great university that made this happen.
“I love the nursing profession,” Estrela said. “I’m very glad I chose UMass Dartmouth. The faculty in the doctorate program are very supportive. It’s almost like we’re colleagues; we have a great working relationship.”
After she earns her degree, Estrela would love to create an acute care center of nurse practitioners who can treat a variety of specialties. She also plans to work to develop legislation that will establish guidelines for police cruisers when speeding to a crime scene.
First scholarship awarded this fall
In September, the first Hailey Angel Allard Scholarship was awarded to Elyssa Tripp ’21 of Westport, MA.
Tripp graduated from the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, where she participated in the nurse assisting program. She also worked as a CNA at Alden Court in Fairhaven. This year, she is doing her clinical rotation at St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, where she is learning to take vital signs, give medications, and assist patients with activities for daily living.
She is enjoying her nursing studies at UMass Dartmouth. “The renovated labs are beautiful. I’ve really learned a lot and the faculty have prepared me very well for the future. A lot of the faculty and staff are really rooting for the students.”
Tripp hopes to become a maternity nurse at a local hospital and help parents learn to care for their newborns.
“In pursuing the nursing profession, it is my hope that my fellow UMassD nursing peers and I can represent the type of nurse Hailey would be: compassionate, courageous, and inspirational,” Tripp said.