“You always hear of families that have things like this happen to them, and you always think, that's never going to be us,” said Ashley. “We never had any indication that we would ever end up in this circumstance. I'm assuming most families don't.”
That unforeseen circumstance is childhood cancer. Ashley’s daughter, Ava, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia the week before Thanksgiving 2022. She was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® the same night, and began chemotherapy treatment that will last nearly three years.
Three years is a long time and a lot of milestones for a child. Ava spent Christmas 2022 at St. Jude. Her favorite things about Christmas are her family’s annual trip to the mountains, Christmas lights, Christmas trees, snow and cookies for Santa. Christmas 2022, just about a month into Ava’s cancer treatment, looked a lot different.
But she has taken it in stride, and so does her mom. “Yes, I can be angry and I can be depressed and I can be bitter…. But what good is that going to do for me? What good is that going to do for my daughter?” said Ashley. “So I chose to make every day just as positive and filled with joy as I could for her.”
“She is still her energetic, happy self. And that's something to be thankful for. She is the silliest, sweetest thing you could ever imagine in your life. She will now and forever be my hero.”