Thanks to the love and support of all who donated in 2015, Ashley achieved her goal of an accessible vehicle and LOVES the freedom it gives her! It has allowed her to travel, mentor, and help patients without the pain of lifting her wheel chair in and out of her car! She is also able to educate and speak publicly to more audiences. Becoming paralyzed is a huge life changing adjustment for anyone. Ashley’s passion is helping as many people as she can to make that adjustment and live a full and happy new life.
As many of you know, Ashley knew nothing about living life in a wheel chair three years. She ran 6 miles a day to maintain an incredibly active lifestyle. Ashley knew about medical hardship though. As a single mom of an amazing special needs son, she was accustomed to pushing hard to meet his needs.
When Ashley was paralyzed in 2014 by an emergency room spinal procedure, she became a paraplegic. Most people would be consumed by resentment, anger, and doubt, but not Ashley. From the moment she was able, she began helping and mentoring others through the Christopher Reeves Foundation, several non-profit organizations, and as a board member for Baylor’s Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Group.
Ashley continued her physical therapy for paralysis at Baylor’s outpatient clinic. In 2015, she was told she wasn’t progressing due to her complete paralysis and there was nothing more they could do for her. That’s when Ashley said to her therapist, “I can’t stop moving forward, there must be something else I can do.”
That’s where ReWalk Robotics comes into the picture. Ashley and her therapist were introduced to their first ReWalk exoskeleton at Baylor by a ReWalk representative. ReWalk is the first FDA approved exoskeleton for personal and rehabilitation use in the United States. It is approved for people to use with a SCI. ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton for a SCI individual and allows them to stand upright and walk! Because of her determination and physical fitness, the ReWalk Personal 6.0 was a natural fit for Ashley.
Ashley demonstrating ReWalk @Medical Conference 2016
After a few months of training, her determination paid off when ReWalk invited her to help educate others by walking and demonstrating the device around the country as a ReWalker Ambassador. The more she used the ReWalk, the more Ashley began to notice significant changes in her health and spirit.
Walking is a human necessity. Most people don’t realize how much walking helps our bodies function. Ashley always says, “When your body is up and moving so are your bowels!” As a result of being paralyzed, it’s not uncommon for paraplegics to spend 1-2 hours a day on their bowel programs. With the use of ReWalk, Ashley spends about 20 minutes, not hours in the bathroom. ReWalk is about MORE THAN WALKING to Ashley. It is a HUGE benefit that adds to her quality of life, not to mention time with her son. How many moms have time to spend 1-2 hrs. in a bathroom a day, especially moms to a special needs child?
Not only that, the arm strength and stamina the ReWalk requires when walking is great cardio exercise for her and can build bone density! That exercise boosts mood, spirit and reduces painful back spasms, a result of her injury. Add to that, getting to stand eye to eye with her son again and those around her make it easy to understand Ashley’s passion for this device.
Ashley speaking @ TWU Dallas PT School on ReWalk 2017
Ashley became so convinced of the many health benefits she personally experienced while using the ReWalk at therapy, she started fighting her insurance company to get her own ReWalk. After two years of multiple appeals, denials and advocating, her insurance company handed down their final denial for a ReWalk or for any other exoskeleton device. Insurance companies do not yet understand the great health benefits of exoskeleton use for spinal cord injuries and do not think they are medically necessary. This is despite all the studies and literature showing them the benefits of this technology.
Unfortunately, this amazing technology comes at a price most people cannot afford. Ashley was and is still so passionate and never gives up the fight. She was battling not only for herself but she wanted to pave the way for other patients’ coverage with these devices. She explored every avenue to get government support in helping her advocate for coverage for her own Personal 6.0 ReWalk. This effort included calling and writing to state and local representatives, including Gov. Greg Abbott, who is also paralyzed. Ashley was disheartened by the lack of support she received in return. No one, including the governor, wanted to advocate for coverage. Her hope was to have a chance to show someone in our local government how the device worked and to educate them on why she believes it is medically necessary for many members of the spinal cord community.
Ashley demonstrating ReWalk @Medical Conference 2016
Ashley’s goal is to earn her own Personal 6.0 ReWalk so that she can use it to MOTIVATE + INSPIRE + EDUCATE others to keep moving forward as she has! She has a passionate "I CAN AND I WILL" attitude that is contagious. With her own ReWalk, she will use her platform to educate the insurance industry and lobby for exoskeleton coverage to benefit more spinal cord injury patients like herself. And if you know Ashley, you know SHE WILL BE HEARD and NEVER GIVE UP!
Any amount you can give will get Ashley one-step closer to attaining her goal!! By helping her, you are helping Ashley to inspire people to inspire more!
Additional Links on Ashley's use of ReWalk below:
DonationsSee top donations
- Jeff Hutchison
- Mary Smith
- Rachel Koenen
- Douglas Hamilton
Organizer and beneficiary
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more