Friday, January 4, 2013

Freebie Friday: Meet Ashley Desper

Until two months ago, I was one of those fortunate people in the world with no personal connection to cancer. You read the heartbreaking stories and see the horrifying effects it has on others and their families, but it’s hard to comprehend until it’s staring you in the face.

I was working late on a Thursday evening and my mom had text me that she needed to speak with me. The day before I had called her and my dad to tell them some exciting news, but she had seemed unusually down even though I knew she was happy for me. I repeatedly asked her what was wrong. She insisted everything was fine. I called her immediately, as I was having a bad evening at work and needed to vent a little bit. Even though she gave me her usual perfect words of encouragement, I could tell something was wrong. A few moments later, she told me was diagnosed with breast cancer. There’s nothing in life that can ever prepare you for that moment. Suddenly, nothing else mattered….work, stress, social life. It all seems so insignificant when someone that close to you tells you they have cancer. My father, being a physician, got on the phone and insisted she was going to be fine. I trusted my dad, and I knew he would make sure she was ok. She is our family rock.

I remember driving home and being an emotional wreck. I left everything on my desk with a strict deadline and just walked away. At that moment, it just didn’t matter. I booked my flight home the next day. My mom was having surgery that Wednesday which would determine if/where the cancer had spread. That was 5 days away, and she needed me. I’ve never seen her so excited to see me when she picked me up from the airport! It was a long few days leading up to that Wednesday morning. The family was there in the waiting room. Although it was a short procedure, it felt like the longest hour of my life. The doctor came out and told us all the cancerous cells had been removed and that the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes. They caught it very early, and her prognosis couldn’t be better. It was the most unbelievable moment of my life.

My mom is half way through her radiation treatments now and has to take a pill every day. In the world of cancer, this is a blessing. She is doing so well, and I could not be more thankful for how lucky and blessed we are. It puts life into perspective and makes you appreciate every moment of quality time you have with your loved ones.

Ironically, the day before my mom announced her diagnosis, that exciting news I called to tell her about was that I was offered the position as Campaign Manager for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Joining this organization came at such a critical moment in my life, and I knew it happened for a reason. It means so much to me to work for such as amazing cause that will find a cure for blood cancers. I want to be a part of that and help others so that they never have to hear those tragic words from a loved one again. I truly do believe that someday could be today!

Ashley is the lead contact for both the Big D Climb ( and the Links Fore Leukemia Golf Tournament (

No comments:

Post a Comment