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