“I’m not going to do it.” That’s what Ashley said when presented with a wheel chair last year after a stroke put her in the hospital.
She was paralyzed from the chest down. At 14, she was firm in her resolve to walk. She went to therapy twice a week, working hard to recover. Ashley suffers from congenital anomalies which could cause another stroke at any time.
On National Believe Day, Ashley took an amazing walk out of a limousine and on to the red carpet laid out at Macy’s in Center City especially for her. As she stepped out of her stretch limo, cameras snapped and flashed, capturing what was just the start of Ashley’s wish day. Friends, family and curious on-lookers stretched on tip-toes above the crowd for a peek at just who might be commanding all of this special attention.
Ashley’s wish began with her own self-esteem issues. “When I became ill, I though of myself as not that pretty because of my appearance.” She wanted to use her wish to teach other young girls that beauty is within. “If you’re beautiful on the inside, you’re beautiful on the outside.” Ashley used that thought to create a line of inspirational hoodies that Macy’s helped her design. Phrases such as “Destroy what destroys you” and “Secretly I’m a Vogue fashion model” were screen printed on pink, white and green hoodies that will be sold on her Etsy store.
As part of Ashley’s wish, her friends modeled the shirts at a fashion show inside Macy’s right beneath the holiday light show. Dozens of shoppers lined the isles to watch as the hoodies were unveiled.
When asked what her wish meant to her, Ashley said “It’s a feeling I can never describe.” For one day, she was a celebrity with a message and her message was received by many no doubt needed to hear it—beauty is within and it’s something no one can take away. “She never gave up,” Ashley’s mom said. “She always believed that she would walk and she really, really fought to do so. This is just the next step in her recovery.”