August 16, 2021

When a distracted driver took the life of Jamie and Chris White’s 2-year-old daughter, Allie Estelle, in 2019, the couple created an endowed scholarship in her name and created their nonprofit, Allie’s Way.

When a distracted driver took the life of Jamie and Chris White’s 2-year-old daughter, Allie Estelle, in 2019, the couple was determined to find a silver lining in the tragedy. By creating an endowed scholarship in Allie’s name and founding their nonprofit, Allie’s Way, the Whites discovered a way to support Texas A&M students, leave a legacy for their daughter and fight to end distracted driving, all at the same time.

Chris fondly remembers attending Aggie football games while visiting his older sister in Aggieland. Following in her footsteps, he attended Texas A&M University and received his degree in mechanical engineering in 1999. “I fell in love with the camaraderie and culture at Texas A&M,” he said. After receiving her journalism degree from the University of Mississippi, Jamie moved to Round Rock, Texas, where she eventually met Chris. The couple married in 2008 and had four beautiful children: Madison, Tyler, Brady and Allie.

Through tragedy, the Whites have dedicated their lives to making a change not only in Texas, but also across the nation.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

On Sept. 29, 2019, after stepping off a median in the parking lot of the soccer fields where her brothers were playing, Allie was hit by a distracted driver. Chris attempted to get the driver’s attention and save his daughter’s life, but because the driver was on the phone, she didn’t see Chris’ warning or Allie, ultimately taking her life.

“She was tiny, but mighty,” Jamie recalled. “Her personality was so big, and she was full of love and laughter.” The Whites knew their 26-pound, blonde hair, blue-eyed toddler was a special girl from the moment she was born. The couple characterized Allie as spunky, sweet and a little bit of a boss to her three older siblings. “She always had a sparkle in her eyes,” Chris said. "You immediately fell in love with her because she was so joyful and compassionate.”

Allie loved to dance and sing to her favorite Disney tunes, filling every room she entered with light and laughter. Her tragic accident prompted the Whites to raise awareness for distracted driving in as many ways as possible by making roads, parking lots and other areas children might be present safer. From working with the Texas Department of Public Transportation on its safe driving campaign, to establishing Pink Nail Week—a way to remember Allie when driving using her favorite color—they want Allie’s tragedy to change people’s behavior and end distracted driving.

 

Creating Allie’s Legacy

Shortly after their daughter’s passing, Chris and Jamie created an endowed scholarship for Aggies pursuing mechanical engineering to honor Allie’s memory. “I really value the education and leadership skills I received at Texas A&M,” Chris explained. “I continue to see strong leaders graduate from the school and want to support this in Allie’s name.”

The couple hopes the recipients of the scholarship can learn about Allie’s legacy and realize the importance of safe driving. “We want to honor Allie and keep her not just in our hearts and minds, but to also make something that will last forever,” Jamie added. Using Chris’ company matching program and donations from family, friends and generous donors, the Whites are funding Allie’s gift.

“Aggies are always looking to support Texas A&M and each other,” Chris explained. “We hope that whenever the gift is fully endowed and the student recipient is selected, they will learn who Allie was.”

The Whites didn’t stop there. After speaking at a statewide Texas Department of Public Transportation Commission Board meeting and seeing how Allie’s story touched the hearts of all who attended, they were inspired to share her story at other conferences and meetings throughout the state.

The Whites' nonprofit, Allie's Way, advocates for safer public spaces for children and adults alike.

“Through all of the support that came after Allie’s passing, we recognized the need for a nonprofit to build awareness and spread Allie’s message,” Jamie said. The mission of Allie’s Way is to make public areas safer for children and adults. “There are too many areas without regulations to monitor and enforce safety, such as speed bumps and speed limit signs in public parks and other public areas. We want people to start watching out for others and change their behaviors.”

Supporters from all over Texas have reached out to the Whites praising them for their efforts. “The more people are aware that this is a problem and that a beautiful child was lost, the more people will change their behavior and join our cause,” Chris said. “The more support we generate, the more influence we have to get things done.”

Donations to the Allie Estelle Memorial Scholarship can be made online through the Texas A&M Foundation here. You can also mail a check donation to Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, TX 77840 and include the account number 04-36917 in the check memo line. Donations to Allie’s Way can be made through its website.

A gift in memory or in honor of a spouse, parent, sibling, relative or friend is a generous and thoughtful way to recognize a loved one while also supporting Texas A&M University. Many individuals even use honorary or memorial gifts as a way to celebrate important life milestones, such as birthdays, graduations or anniversaries. Honorary and memorial gifts to the Texas A&M Foundation can be tailored to fit the interests and values of your loved one, making it a true extension of that person’s life and accomplishments. Discover the different ways that your gift can create a living legacy for someone who has made an undeniable difference in your life by clicking on the button below.

 

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