Happy Birthday Ashley!
I was so eager to celebrate Ashley's birthday this year that I started early in August and nearly every Sunday taking her flowers after buying them from the local farmers market in downtown Milwaukie. Right across from the flower vendor was one named Packer Orchards and they sold me some delicious scones and a cookie each week. I would usually eat the cookie right away (hard to resist) and save the scones for breaktime at work for the next couple of days. I continued this practice nearly every week into September and even more so by eating other foods that Ashley liked such as Red Robin French fries, Eggo waffles, and Pop Tarts. I must have gained several extra pounds during this time! But I really enjoyed it and felt like it was a way to honor Ashley's food preferences, especially the scones which I used to make for her and she enjoyed as a treat on Fridays right after coming home from school.
This year, I wanted to make sure Ashley's monument was as clean as it could be so I spent time there on Sunday getting it polished up. I hope to continue this practice each year to keep it looking its best.
One thing that Ashley and I would enjoy doing together is to go to Barnes and Noble to shop for books. She'd usually come out of there with a wheel barrow full of books and I'd give her a bad time about it. I visited Barnes and Noble this year on Sunday and decided I'd try to get through the first book of a Game of Thrones, one of Ashley's favorite series. Since this type of fiction is not usually my thing, I'm going to try to get through the audio book first before I buy and try to read a paper copy.
On the heels of Ashley's birthday, I want to mention that September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has an informative site describing how that organization is helping cancer patients, their families and society through research and advocacy. Check it out and consider one or more ways of helping them achieve their goals.
Happy Birthday Ashley!
In November 2013, we distributed the first funds from Ashley's foundation to local charities. We want to contribute to organizations that help or support youth, since Ashley inspired us with her 'Power of Youth' presentation. This is the start of Ashley's world domination effort, from the ground up, by helping to empower youth of our community.
Some info about the organizations that benefited from Ashley's inspiration:
- According to their website, the Bus Project Foundation will meet students where they are, engaging a new generation of Oregonians as active civic participants in their communities.
- The mission of Girls Inc. of NW Oregon is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold. Our vision is empowered girls and an equitable society.
Thanks to Becky Ziemer for organizing a Light the Night team to honor our daughter Ashley and to help blood cancer patients and their families fight against this deadly disease. On Saturday October 19th we walked more than two miles and raised over $600 for LLS. It was a gorgeous night with dry, warm weather, a stunning full moon and amazing fireworks. Click through the pictures below to get a sense of the evening. Or visit a previous blog post that describes last year's event.
By the way it's not too late to make help out by making a financial contribution.
"It means hope. Ashley’s experience was unfair, but knowing that others may not have to go through what she did is reassuring." - Koreena
National Honor Society students at Oregon City High School (OCHS) recently raised $933.26 to help Leukemia and Lymphoma Society help patients who suffer from blood cancer. Ashley was named the Honored Hero for the campaign. Her life and spirit inspired the students to action. As mentioned in a recent OCHS blog post, Koreena G. Wagner, Ashley’s friend and an organizer for Pennies for Patients, said, “It means hope. Ashley’s experience was unfair, but knowing that others may not have to go through what she did is reassuring.”
Check out the flyers that were used to advertise the event.
Thanks to Raelene Young for donating to Providence Willamette Falls Hospital Hospice's Light Up A Life program in memory of Ashley. Her generosity will help hospice patients and their families.
Ashley’s school counselor invited us to join her and Ashley’s friends as they walk for Light the Night which occurs annually in downtown Portland. We previously participated in LTN during October 2010 and really enjoyed the mostly-dry walk around the Willamette River waterfront. This year was no exception. The weather stayed dry and relatively warm and we really enjoyed our time. Thanks to my coworkers Becky and Carol for joining us in the walk.
Ashley's friend's Koreena and Emily made a fantastic banner to honor her while we walked.
Ashley's third grade teacher, Mrs. Young, contributed to the Providence Willamette Falls Foundation Light Up a Life tree lighting ceremony by making a donation to the hospital's hospice program. A heart ornament with Ashley's name on it was placed on the Christmas tree. The donation will help hospice patients live their last days in comfort and dignity. Click here to see the letter we got from the foundation. Thanks Mrs. Young!
The Galloping Neigh Neighs finished 17th out of 40 four-person teams. We enjoyed the event and raised $120 for LLS. Thanks to everyone who supported us. Please visit this link for a video of us participating in the event.
Sara and I and Ashley's Uncle Dave and Aunt Amy are participating in a 5K event, Pineapple Classic, to raise money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We're calling ourselves the Galloping Neigh Neighs. Part run, part obstacle course we're inspired by Ashley's jumping and zest for life. If you'd like to help us out feel free to donate over at our team page.
Fairy princess reading her book (Thanks to Shari!)
I'm participating in a walk to help my co-worker Shari raise funds for heroes like her son who have to deal with Cystic Fibrosis everyday. The walk is happening at Oaks Park in Portland on Saturday May 21st.
Participants are raising money to assist with the costs of treating(and to ultimately find a cure for) this debilitating disease. If you'd like to help please consider making a modest financial donation at my support page here.