Ashley Aven is about to celebrate her 18th birthday with family and close friends. It’s a celebration the Lynnwood teenager richly deserves, considering the battle she’s been fighting for the past several months.
Last spring Ashley was a typical teenager who played varsity softball at Meadowdale High School. She started feeling tired one day, and everyone thought she was just exhausted from the long season. But the fatigue continued, and eventually Ashley started getting headaches.
Her parents took her to Children’s Hospital in July when her fever reached 104 degrees. Two hours after they walked in, Ashley was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a rare but aggressive blood cancer.
“There are no words that can explain what news like that does to a parent’s life, body and soul,” Ashley’s father Bill said.
Ashley already has been through three brutal rounds of chemotherapy and continues the treatments at home, along with trips to the hospital several times a week for platelet transfusions.
On Jan. 1 the doctors told Ashley’s parents she had two months to live. None of them accepted that diagnosis.
March 1 has passed and the cancer in Ashley’s body is back down to 10 percent (it was as high as 32 percent two months ago), and she keeps fighting to get it even lower.
Bill and Tamara Aven haven’t worked for several months so they can fight alongside Ashley. The community is raising money to help relieve the family’s financial burden.
Bill tells us a group of friends are trying to organize a golf tournament on Ashley’s behalf, and there’s a fundraiser on April 17 at Glazed and Amazed Pottery in Edmonds. Check back for more details on these and other fundraisers.
Donations also can be made to the Ashley K. Aven Foundation at any Wells Fargo Bank, or you can donate through PayPal to [email protected]. You also can keep track of Ashley’s progress at www.caringbridge.org/visit/ashleykealohaaven.