Ashton's Story

In July 2009, right before she would begin her freshman year, Ashton began experiencing debilitating physical symptoms like muscle weakness and double vision. She was very tired and sleeping all the time. After every kind of test imaginable and a host of physicians, Ashton was diagnosed with Kikuchi Fugimoto disease, an extremely rare illness which affects the lymph nodes. After a month-long hospital stay, her condition improved enough for her to return home, but the severe de-conditioning of medications and bed rest left her in a wheelchair. But, after a rigorous year of cognitive and physical therapy at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Ashton was able to pass an Army physical fitness test. She continues to see a rheumatologist to watch for the small possibility of complications. Thanks to the generosity of a charitable child, Julia who helped raise money for the Pure Imagination program – Ashton, who at one time was unable to walk, was able to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Georgia Aquarium and swim with the whale sharks! Click here to see the video from Ashton’s Pure Imagination Adventure