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Ashley and her family face crisis with courage

Shortly after school ended last June, Ashley was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. The only sign had been an inflamed lymph node that wasn’t responding to antibiotics. Within a week, Laura and Bill were at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin hearing what every parent dreads. “You just look at each other and say, this is not happening,” Laura said. “And you think you can’t do it, but you always find a way because you have to. It’s your kid.”

Since then, their whole family — including Ashley’s older sister, Paige — has faced this crisis with courage. “It has grown us as a family, us as parents and her as a child,” said Laura. “It tells you how strong you are.”

After nearly a year of treatment, Ashley is cancer-free, but her chemotherapy regimen will continue until late 2018. It’s a journey that has required her to stay in the hospital for as long as a month at a time. The hardest part was when Ashley was in isolation. She could not leave her hospital room at all, for fear of infection, and any visitors had to wear a mask, gown and gloves.

During those times, Children’s Expressive Therapy program was the family's lifeline. Art, music and dance therapists brought fun and distraction right to Ashley’s room — from throwing scarves in the air to blowing bubbles to playing with shaving cream. Even on days when she felt low, the therapists would find the right activity for her energy level.

“Ashley was in isolation for weeks and weeks and weeks,” said Laura. “It was truly a lifesaver to have them keep her mind off what was going on and make the days go by a little bit faster. You can tell it’s more than a job for them. They’re patient. They get it. They’re attached to the kids, and it shows.”

 
Your support makes this all possible

Through it all, Children’s has helped Ashley and her family keep a positive outlook. When families are faced with unthinkable challenges, we ask what kind of support they need to feel normal and whole. Children’s Expressive Therapy program is one example of our many patient amenities and family services that are made possible because of donors like you. Thank you for helping us provide much-needed support to families through a child’s serious illness or injury.

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