Ashley

Ashley was diagnosed on August 27, 2010 at age 7 with Stage IV Neuroblastoma (a solid tumor cancer of the sympathetic nervous system) and later developed evidence of PTLD (Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder/Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma). She battled through 7 weeklong rounds of chemotherapy, 13 surgical procedures, a stem cell transplant, 12 days of external beam radiation, two rounds of MIBG Therapy, 5 weeks in the Pediatric ICU receiving antibodies infusions, numerous ER visits, over 50 blood and platelet transfusions, over 150 nights spent at the hospital, and an infinite number of pokes…..and all with a SMILE on her face. Her treatments required her to travel to 8 different hospitals in 5 different states, but it was worth it because in August 2012, she finally received the fantastic news that she was CANCER FREE!!! After this, she participated in a 2-year experimental drug trial with a drug called DFMO. The hope was that this drug would help her stay in remission and prevent a relapse and it succeeded!! During her initial treatments, Ashley was asked to be a Patient Ambassador for the NC Children’s Hospital and truly enjoyed sharing her journey with others and helping with fundraising. From there she spoke on behalf of the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center at their Blue Ribbon Gala. She also shared the story of her journey at several fundraising events for Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina, the Beat Neuroblastoma Foundation, Reelin’ for Research, and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. She also helped kickoff the Krispy Kreme Challenge and the Get Heeled 5K in 2013. In 2014, she was chosen to be one of the two 2014-2015 National Youth Ambassadors for Hyundai Hope On Wheels, one of the leading funders for pediatric cancer research in the US. Over those two years as their ambassador, Ashley traveled around the country to numerous children’s hospitals to share her message of hope to other kids and families battling cancer. Hyundai Hope On Wheels has funded over $100 million dollars for pediatric cancer research since its inception in 1998, so it was quite an honor to be a special part of that family. During those years as an ambassador, some of the special highlights included: 1) being the only childhood cancer survivor asked to speak in Times Square when Times Square went “all gold” in honor of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month; 2) having her face on a billboard in Times Square; 3) being interviewed by FOX News; 4) ringing the NASDAQ opening bell; and 5) having the opportunity to meet with many Congressmen in Washington DC to discuss the importance of more pediatric cancer funding. Ashley received another special honor when she was chosen to be “Person of the Week” by ABC World News Tonight with David Muir. In 2015, Ashley was presented with the “Outstanding Young Philanthropist Award” on National Philanthropy Day by the Triangle Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Ashley hopes that continuing to share her story with others will bring hope to other kids and families fighting pediatric cancer.