Welcome to Ashley's Bright Light (A Forever Fund)
"She brought light to everything."
“She was a light and an inspiration – a wonderful girl with a kind heart and a beautiful smile.”
“Her smile would light up the room.”
Ashley was diagnosed with a malignant Mixed Germ Cell Brain Tumor when she was six months old. The doctors told us she would not live to be three-years-old, but Ashley had different plans. Small in size, but not in spirit, she fought through two years of chemotherapy and 28 radiation treatments. Although she wore hearing aids and glasses, took medicine twice a day for seizures, and a had shot every night to help her grow, she was a survivor.
In her own words at the age of eight, “My friends learn faster than me and can express themselves better than me, but I don’t let any of that stop me! If you ever meet me you’ll know that right away. I love playing with my sisters and friends. My teacher says all the kids in my class love me! My mom knows I’ll keep fighting no matter what.”
Our world changed again in December 2011, when at the age of twelve Ashley relapsed, and was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). She went through two bone marrow transplants, and was in remission for a year until the Leukemia was found again and she went through another bone marrow transplant. After another year of remission, in May of 2015 we learned she had relapsed again.
Despite all she went through in her 16 short years, Ashley was happy, and made everyone happy from the minute they met her. When Dr. Hayani told her for the last time that the Leukemia was full blown, Ashley started to cry. She told him, "All I want to do is get a job at Disney World and make people happy." Fighting back tears Dr. Hayani told her, "Ashley you make people happy every day."
Since she relapsed last May, Ashley knew she would die, but she always thought it would be a long time down the road. She thought she could fight anything, but one day after her last relapse she told her sisters that after she was gone they would have to take care of each other and be nice because they would only have each other. She said "No matter how hard life gets you have to try and be happy. I think that’s why I lived so long."
Ashley lived life to the fullest. She was happy and wanted everyone else to be happy too. She was an inspiration to everyone she met and spread her happiness like pixie dust. Even at the end, when a classmate didn’t know what to say about her relapse, she told him, “Life’s too short to be sad.”
Please help us honor Ashley’s spirit, strength, light and love for life. Our goal is to raise at least $50,000 to fund a research grant in her name, to honor her memory by finding a cure for the next child whose family hears the words “your child has cancer”.
Mom to Ashley Gustafik, Forever 16