Ashely, 12, was diagnosed with adrenocortical cancer at 7 which caused her to grow faster than other kids and her voice to deepen. Tough for a 7 year old to go through. Now 12, her confidence is back and the credit goes to Shining Stars.
“Well, ever since then I feel like, happier. There are some people who would do all these kind things for people like me. There’s a whole organization that’s just made to help kids with cancer and it’s just so amazing that that thing exists!” Ashely exclaimed.
Her family has noticed the difference, too.
“The other benefit as a family is there is a family camp that … it just helps to be able to be around people that share the same story we all can share the moment of diagnosis, we understand what it’s like to go to the hospital visits and a lot of times when you try and talk to people about that there’s the sympathy and the pity looks, and people don’t know what to say, and when you’re with the Shining Stars group, everybody has the same story, the same journey and it helps to know you’re not alone,” said Julie Ahrens, Ashely’s mother.
A Colorado nonprofit that’s focused on providing hope to children with cancer has had to find new ways to support families during the coronavirus pandemic. The Shining Stars Foundation is getting ready to celebrate its 20th anniversary. While the normal routine for families includes Winter Games in Aspen and camps in the summer, on Thursday it took kids on a virtual beehive tour. While virtual isn’t ideal, the creativity behind its leaders is making a difference.
“I think bees are pretty cool, like, I’m a little scared to see them but it’s pretty cool! They, like, dance to communicate,” said Ashely Ahrens.
On Thursday, Rosemary White, Director of Marketing and Community Relations for Shining stars, gave the kids an up-close look at a beehive in Tabernash, where the foundation is based.
About a dozen kids and their parents watched in awe as White opened the hive and showed them a bee being born.
“Can you guys see that?” White exclaimed.
A resounding “yeah” could be heard from those on the telemeeting.
“This is the first steps for this little bee!” she said.
March marks five years since Ashley’s cancer diagnosis. She said next year she will officially be cancer free. She plans to stay connected with the organization. She wants to give back and is working on ways to raise money and one day become an advocate. Check out her fundraising site here.