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My sister Ashley had her first brain surgery when she was a baby. At this time I did not know her. When my dad met my stepmother Dianne, I knew about Ashley and her brain surgery when she was a baby but we all thought we wouldn’t have to deal with her going through that tragedy again. Ashley was a six-year-old little girl who loved playing games, having teddy bears and hanging with her new big sister. Ash and I always had so much fun together. No matter what we were doing we would have a blast doing it. As the years went by we became closer and closer. Six years and many family vacations and fun times had passed by so quickly.

Ash was 12 years old when we found out her brain had hemorrhaged and she would need surgery again. This was traumatic to my family and me. We all were in such shock that this was happening to this fun-loving little girl who deserved so much more than to spend her days in a hospital when she should be out playing and having fun. I had a sense of hope that Ashley would make it because her strength was much more than the hemorrhage in her brain. She survived that and had the strength and determination to get better and not only did she have to deal with brain surgery, she had to relearn how to walk and talk. It was only a short eight months later that she had to undergo her third surgery because her brain hemorrhaged once again. At this point in my life I had got into makeup school and was half way through when I got the news I just broke down. I couldn’t handle the stress again and having to be strong for my family and Ash. So I dropped out and quit my job to be there for my family.

I remember trying to talk to Ash on the phone when she got out of surgery and although no words were making sense, you could tell that she was happy to hear and talk to me. Ashley was 13 at this time and had to once again relearn how to walk and talk. This whole time my heart was broken for her. I just wanted to see her running outside and playing like a normal 13-year-old teenager. There was a fire in Ash, and a strong desire to recover. Her will to live was much more than all of us and the doctors could imagine.

Ashley inspires me to be a better person and appreciate the things in life that you normally wouldn’t think twice about. She continues to push herself and do things that people told her she wouldn’t be able to. Ash always tells me to never give up on my dreams and I have finally applied to one of the most prestigious makeup schools in the world and have been accepted.

Ashley taught me a huge lesson in life – never give up on your dreams and goals. Life is so short and it can be taken from you in an instant. I am so thankful to have her in my life.

If I didn’t have the strength and support of my sister I would have never accomplished this. She truly changed my life and although it is unfortunate that she had to go through all the pain and suffering, she came out and showed the world beauty. Ashley gives young kids a reason to live and confidence that they will survive. My sister Ashley is my angel.


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