October 15, 2013 was the worst day of my, and many other peoples' lives. It was the day Ashton Kathleen Westerlaken Winstanley-Hayes left us. For those of you that don't know her, let me tell you a little bit about her. She will likely remain forever the most positive person anyone in her acquaintance has ever known. She was the girl who never asked for anything but would give the shirt off her back for someone in need. She never judged and her primary goal was to make people happy, and she did a great job of it. She had more reason than most to let herself get down in the dumps. Over the past few years she had developed food intolerances of soy, wheat and lactose. She went into anaphylaxis occasionally more than once a week for these allergies, but her infectious positivity never faltered. In this same time she had also developed serious knee injuries that 5/6 orthopedic surgeons told her she would need two surgeries on each knee, a year apart. This diagnosis came to a girl who lived for sports and adventure--camping, climbing, biking, swimming, paddling, you name it! And still, she never failed to flash her one-of-a-kind toothy grin to anyone having a rough day. Despite all these new developments, she adapted and turned her positive energies towards dog training, and wow, was she ever good at that too (refer to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgfkaBCWA00). She had been through the ringer and was finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. She was beginning to find a rhythm to her allergic reactions and she was on the waiting list for a surgeon who said he could fix her knees no problem in a single surgery with minimal recovery time.
On the morning of October 15, Ashton was involved in a car accident which claimed her life far before its time. Both Tesla and Revy were with her in the car. Revy is with her in his own paradise of treats and Frisbee, but she sent Tesla back to take care of us.
My life will never be the same, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way. There is very little I feel like I can do on my own. However, with the help of our community and beyond, I hope that we are able to raise ANY amount of money for her family and hopefully start an award or scholarship in her name. She comes from a single parent family, who runs their own business, and she has 6 other siblings from both sides of her family whom she loved very much. She really was the best sister, daughter, niece, granddaughter...and to me, she was my best friend.
Any and every dollar helps. Thanks so much for your time and contribution.
RIP Ashton, I know heaven got even brighter with you there. Save us the best camping spot.
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