'I thought Alissa was so strong': Allsup sisters had emotional ties to fraud suspect

News-DemocratJune 4, 2014 

— Patricia Allsup thought Alissa Jackson was the best person to motivate Allsup's twin sister through her breast cancer treatment.

"I thought Alissa was so strong," Allsup said. "I thought she was the perfect person to motivate and cheer Chris up because here you have Alissa who has stage four cancer and she is still around."

Christine Allsup died on Jan. 18 after a fight with stage 3 breast cancer since November 2009. She was 41.

Friends of the Allsups say they are glad Chris Allsup did not live to see Jackson -- someone Chris considered a friend and spent her last days helping -- charged with fraud.

Jackson faces two counts of felony theft by deception after a police investigation found that she lied about having terminal stage 4 ovarian cancer and accepted money from well-wishers.

Pat Allsup said Jackson was not honest with her and her sister, or even Jackson's own family. "She's got innocent kids. They were at school crying because they really thought their mom was dying."

Jackson's husband, Brandon Jackson, said Wednesday he believes his wife is sick.

Pat Allsup said she and her sister were coworkers with Brandon Jackson at Whistlestop's.

Knowing Chris Allsup had breast cancer, Brandon Jackson mentioned to the sisters in February 2012 that his wife had cancer.

Alissa Jackson contacted Chris Allsup a month later to talk about dealing with cancer, such as treatment options and doctor visits, Pat Allsup said.

Pat Allsup said her sister was someone who helped others rather than focusing on herself.

For two years, including the months leading up to Chris Allsup's death, Chris focused her energy on helping Alissa Jackson.

"Chris was the one who told her about the Fundly account," Pat Allsup said of an online fundraising site.

Chris asked others to donate to Alissa, a mother of five children, and gave what little she had to help "Alissa's Army," Pat Allsup said.

By then, the Allsup twins had stopped working at J.R.'s Last Call so that Pat could spend time with Chris during her last hospital stays.

The twins were bartenders but also had a part-time business, Makeufamouz Photography, where they did photo shoots for weddings and individuals.

After Chris Allsup died, Pat Allsup and others leading "Team Chris" and the Fight Like A Girl campaign helped Alissa Jackson pass out fliers, organized events and more to raise money.

Fundraising efforts for Alissa Jackson ramped up in February this year. Organizers planned a prom-styled fundraiser for Alissa Jackson because she told them she never went to prom.

"I donated more than $500," Pat Allsup said. "After Chris died, she asked for what was left of Chris' meds and I gave it all to her."

Pat Allsup said she dreamed of her sister after learning of Alissa Jackson's potential fraud.

With Chris in mind, Pat Allsup said her sister cared deeply about others and would not want people to lose hope and stop donating to those diagnosed with a terminal illness.

After news broke of the fraud charges, Pat Allsup posted on her Facebook page: "Please continue to believe and trust in others! There is good in all of us."

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at jlee@bnd.com or 618-239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BNDJLee.

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