Transverse Myelitis Recovery While Pregnant

Ashley was diagnosed with a rare condition called Transverse Myelitis (TM) and is temporarily paralyzed from the chest down. To add to the stress, she is 25+ weeks pregnant and a recovering brain injury survivor. After 100+ days in the hospital, she was sent home on May 1st but will be in a wheelchair for now and limited to where and what she can do.

Ashley is originally from East Aurora. She spent 11 years living in San Diego, CA, where she met her husband Zack. In October of 2018, Ashley suffered a traumatic brain injury and decided to move back to Western New York to be closer to family (and the Bills!) in April 2020. She and her husband then began the journey of IVF to expand their tribe, and after several unsuccessful treatments, became pregnant in November 2022!

Unfortunately, the excitement of the pregnancy was short-lived. On the evening of January 16th Ashley’s right leg started to tingle and then eventually went completely numb. She blamed her sciatic nerve but then awoke in the middle of the night completely numb and unable to move from the waist down. She was taken to Mercy Hospital where she was eventually diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis; an inflammation of both sides of one section of the spinal cord. This neurological disorder interrupts the messages that the spinal cord nerves send throughout the body. She was transferred to Buffalo General to begin treatment and physical therapy. During her time in the hospital, Ashley also underwent emergency surgery to remove a bowel obstruction that set her recovery back several weeks.

Ashley spent a total of 105 in the hospital, and while the prognosis is and always has been positive, she still has a long road of recovery ahead of her. Steroid treatments, as well as physical therapy, have brought back some of the movement in her legs, although she is still completely numb and unable to walk. They project it may take up to a year and a half to completely heal. Her father was able to fit their home with a wheelchair ramp and she will be continuing in-home physical and occupational therapy to hopefully get her up and walking unassisted.

Throughout all of this, their baby has weathered the storm(s)! They are healthy and measuring right on track, and Ashley expects to be induced at the end of July. Their family has a lot of hardships ahead of them, including having to buy and rent several pieces of medical equipment, as well as handicapped accessible baby furniture such as a crib and changing table. This on top of mountain medical bills from such an extended and action-packed hospital stay.

Ashley remains hopeful for the future, for her and her child, and is ready to do whatever she can to get better and is positive being at home with her cats will help in her recovery. It is going to be a long journey ahead as Ashley and Zack navigate this new way of living, while also preparing to become new parents. Anything you can donate would be greatly appreciated to go towards medical bills, transportation, nursing help, meals, baby items, and more.

Learn more here:


  • Suzanne Meenahan
    • $50 
    • 2 mos
  • Tiffany Hill
    • $30 
    • 2 mos
  • Kathryn Duane
    • $25 
    • 2 mos
  • Sharon Macri
    • $100 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $40 
    • 3 mos

Fundraising team (4)

Ashleigh Farver
Orchard Park, NY
Zack Winder
Ashley Winder
Team member
Stephanie Meyer
Team member

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