It all started with a stuffed monkey named Jack. The fluffy companion was given to an 8-year-old Aly Creasy while she lay in a hospital bed.
“He gave me a lot of comfort and I just wanted to give back,” Aly says, now 12 years old. Two years ago Aly decided that instead of getting a birthday gift, she wanted to give other kids in the hospital their own stuffed monkeys. And before she knew it, a movement began.
Her mom Kristy helped her launch Aly’s Monkey Movement a nonprofit with the primary purpose of delivering monkeys to sick kids in the hospital.
Their first goal was simply to raise enough money to buy and deliver 30 monkeys, but instead they gave away 154 and from then on Aly was hooked. She loves giving monkeys to kids and making them feel happy.
“My first thought was, ‘That’s typical of Aly.’ She’s always been a giver and not much of a taker,” said Kristy.
Kristy encourages all of her kids to set goals for themselves and check off their benchmarks along the way. Aly tracks all of her monkey goals on a sheet of paper, shading in each task when it’s completed.
Constantly dedicated to the cause, the 12-year-old spends at least an hour each day working on her monkey movement. She tags each monkey’s right ear with an Aly’s Monkey Movement tag and the name of a donor. Then the monkeys are either shipped to hospitals or monkey movers across the country, or they are hand-delivered by Aly and her crew.
“It’s literally become a movement. A worldwide movement. We have kids all over the world moving monkeys,” said Kristy.
After two years and over 2,400 monkeys delivered, Aly just finished the design for her very own specialty designed monkey.
It’s called the Olivia Monkey, named after a young girl who passed away suddenly in a car accident. Olivia’s parents held a jeep run fundraising event and donated the funds to Aly’s new monkey design.
In addition to the tag, you will know the new design by the inscription on its feet – “I choose you” on the right foot and “Aly’s Monkey Movement” on the left.
Aly also replaced the “o” in movement with a purple heart, because purple was Olivia’s favorite color.
The monkey movement wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of Aly’s family and friends as well as the many donations from members of the community. But above all, Kristy sees the work of God shine through the movement.
She knows that none of it would be possible without God’s providence.
For Aly, this is a dream that will never die. When asked how long she wanted to give monkeys to sick children, she said, “forever.”
“I want to pass it on to my grandchildren,” she said with a big smile.