They say it takes a village to raise a child, but everyone knows the need for community doesn’t stop there–it is friendship and the power of helping others that gets us all through the valleys of life. And Ashley can certainly attest to that.
Born and raised in Conyers, Georgia, Ashley attended college at Georgia State University and then started a career as a design consultant. However, when the housing market crashed, she lost her job and started to work at a popular Irish pub in Buckhead.
When she was 29, Ashley was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer after finding a lump in her breast. After her diagnosis, Ashley underwent a double mastectomy and four rounds of chemo. “I really didn’t blink an eye about the surgery,” remember Ashley. “I figured I’d had a good 29 years with my breasts, and now it was time to get some new ones.” But her hair was another story–“I have a ton of hair, and at the time, it was very long. I really struggled with the idea of losing it,” she admits. But Ashley fought against the inner struggle by making the most of every circumstance–As her dark brown hair began to grow back, Ashley rocked a chic bob with bangs–and even a bleached blonde pixie cut. “Throughout the whole thing, I had to tell myself, ‘You can’t stress about things you can’t change,’ and that helped me stay strong,” says Ashley. And for those on the outside looking in, Ashley was just a girl with a bold sense of style who wasn’t afraid to try new things with her hair.
After her surgery, Ashley went home to stay with her family as she recovered, and found constant support not only from her parents, but also her best friend, who stayed by her bedside and helped Ashley with all the nitty-gritty parts of post-surgery life.
And despite not having health insurance, Ashley was able to pay for her treatment, as her friends rallied around her in support and fundraisers were held at both her place of employment and another bar and concert venue across town. “Everyone at work was amazing,” shares Ashley. “They held a huge fundraiser for me, so I was able to take off work and chill during my chemo.”
And further support came in the form of a new love. “I met my boyfriend at work, and neither one of us wanted to date someone we worked with, so we tried just to be friends for a year, but it didn’t work,” Ashley laughs. Now the couple of nearly two years lives together and shares a dog. “Andrew’s mother passed away from breast cancer right before we met, so he’s so understanding of what I’ve been through,” shares Ashley. “I can always count on him.”
Moving forward, Ashley has big plans. “I want to go to South America, and I’d love to go to Brazil for the World Cup,” she shares.
And she’s also excited to find her ultimate passion in life. “I’d love to open my own floral shop and have a jewelry line,” she says. “I come from a whole family of artistic people, so I always want to have something creative in my life.”
■ Emily L. Foley