Allyson Allred, Auburn graduate among group with rare eye cancer ocular melanoma, dies

Allyson Allred, Auburn graduate among group with rare eye cancer ocular melanoma, dies

Allyson Allred, one of a group of former Auburn University students diagnosed with a rare eye cancer, has died. She was 49.

Allred’s death was announced on Facebook by her father, Bill Armistead.

“My loving daughter is now in the presence of our Heavenly Father and her Earthly Mother,” Armistead wrote Wednesday morning. “She slipped away during the night while she slept. However, as she slipped away from us I can only imagine the joyous reception she received in Heaven as the angels ushered her into the presence of the Lord and the Saints who preceded her.

“I want to thank the hundreds and even thousands of you who have prayed for Allyson during this 18 years that she battled with ocular melanoma. She told me so many times how she literally felt your prayers,” Armistead added.

Allred was first diagnosed with ocular melanoma, also known as uveal melanoma, in 2001 at age 31. She later learned of another woman who was diagnosed with the disease and discovered they both lived in dorms at Auburn University during the 1988 to 1993 time frame. Later, two other classmates from the same set of neighboring dorms were diagnosed with ocular melanoma, a disease that typically found in only 6 out of every 1 million people each year. Doctors don’t know what causes the cancer.

Auburn University Medical Clinic medical director Dr. Fred Kam told the Plainsman there have been 26 verified cases of ocular melanoma over a more than 40 year span among people who have either attended or worked for AU.

The cases drew national attention but a later investigation by the Alabama Department of Public Health found there was no evidence of a cancer cluster. Despite that finding, Auburn University said it would continue its research into identifying the cause of ocular melanoma and any possible treatment or cure.

Allred, a former kindergarten teacher, had battled the recurrence of cancer in other organs since her original diagnosis, a common occurrence in ocular melanoma cases. In recent months, Allred had been receiving treatments at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia before going home on hospice care.

A post on the Auburn Ocular Melanoma Page, a Facebook support group, said to know Allred was “to know the love of her savior.”

“We are confidence she is rejoicing in heaven with her savior and her mom although we will miss her greatly here. We are all better for having known her.”

Allred is survived by her husband, John, two children and a host of other family and friends. Allred’s father, Bill Armistead, is a former State Senator and past head of the Alabama Republican Party. His wife, Emily, was struck and killed by a car in Linden, Alabama in 2017 as she walked across the road with her husband to attend a funeral.

Terry Latham, the current head of the state GOP, expressed her condolences to the Armistead family.

Author: sarkarimirror