January 30, 2010
We had the privilege of being invited to Pearl River High School’s pep rally on Thursday. They were all so kind and welcoming. We met with the members of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) right before the rally. Ashlee was given some pom poms and was introduced to a screaming group of about 700 students. The principal surprised us with a donation for Ashlee that was out of the goodness of the staff, faculty, and students hearts. David said a few words on behalf of Ashlee and thanked everyone for embracing her and her story. She raised the pom poms in the air and the gym got loud. When it was over, someone yelled, “We love you Ashlee!”.
January 19, 2010
Went back to the doctor last week and had the pins removed from Ashlee’s left hand. She was very brave and did great. Its so good to see that hand open now. She will need extensive therapy on it in about a month. We can’t wait until she has full use of it. She can’t either. She has started back with speech therapy and doing fantastic. People are able to understand her better and she’s talking more in sentences. Another doctor visit we had indicated there’s a lot more work to do. It has to do with her vocal folds.
Still keeping the faith!
December 31, 2009
Ashlee is doing great. We went back to the doctor for a follow up and he removed the staples in her knee and wrist. She will have to keep the pins in her knuckles for another 2-3 weeks. Thanks to everyone for your nice Christmas cards. We had a wonderful day on Christmas and look forward to a wonderful new year. Our good family friend has come up with a new slogan for Ashlee. ”ASHLEE WILL WIN IN 2010″
Be safe tonight and Happy New Year to everyone!
December 17, 2009 Ashlee’s surgery went great yesterday. She was a real trooper! Thanks for the prayers. She will be home recovering until she can start therapy again in 6 weeks. To all the students and teachers, we hope you have a great holiday break. We wish you all a blessed Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say it, rejoice! Philippians 4:4
December 15, 2009 Last Friday we had the privilege of going to the Satellite Center - Digital Media Program in St. Charles Parish to view presentations from students who have been working on logos for “Ashlee’s Angels” designated driver pick up service. They were awesome. We were blown away at the time and effort put in by these students to produce such amazing work. It is really going to be hard to choose. We were contacted by the teacher who had heard of Ashlee’s story and offered their services for a good cause. We can’t wait to get this service up and running.
Tomorrow we will be at Touro Hospital again for another surgery. Ashlee is having surgery on her left hand and right knee. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers that all goes well.
Thank you all for your postings on this site. We do read all of them, and it is nice to see what your thoughts are about Ashlee and the inspiring words for our family. Thanks.
December 8, 2009 We had a great day yesterday. We met with seniors from Brother Martin High School in New Orleans who were taking part in the Sudden Impact Program given by LSU’s Trauma Center where Ashlee was taken after her accident. The Sudden Impact Program puts real life situations in front of high school students in order to promote safe driving and prevent a “sudden impact”. We enjoyed being there to tell Ashlee’s story, answering questions, and talking to some of them on a one on one basis. Some of them that cheer wanted to personally say Hi to Ashlee and let her know they were thinking of her. Thank you for having us and choosing to “make a difference”.
We also were invited to Abney Elementary in Slidell. Abney is Pre-K thru 5th grade and when the principal heard of Ashlee’s story, he asked the RAK club to set up a fundraiser for Ashlee. RAK stands for “random acts of kindness”. Two students from the group presented us with a check for their efforts and collections from students and staff. Ashlee thanked them over the closed circuit television system they have in place. What a great group of young people. We sincerely appreciate your thoughtfulness.
December 6, 2009 I apologize for taking so long to give an update. We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. The weeks before and after had been crazy. We spent ours in Disney World thanks to the LA. State Troopers in Covington. We were swept away in a limo to the airport, and then picked up again on our return. We had a great time! You can view a few photos under “links”. When I asked Ashlee if she had a good time, she commented that “we made good family memories”. Ashlee definitely got all the love from the characters, Mickey, Minnie, and a bunch more.
We are going back to Brother Martin High School tomorrow for the Sudden Impact program. We went last month and spoke to some of the seniors about the impact Ashlee’s accident has had on our family. We will be meeting with another group of students and hopefully “making a difference”.
Ashlee is back in therapy until December 16th when she will have surgery on her left hand and right knee. The doctors will lengthen her tendons on her hand, and remove the calcification that has grown on her knee where she had a cut. Its what is called heterotopic ossification. We hope to have her home the next day. Please remember to pray for her that all goes well. We are looking forward to her recovery and being able to use her left hand.
November 14, 2009 I don’t even know where to start. What a remarkable time we had for Ashlee’s birthday. We were surprised by an escort and limo ride to the church. Ashlee’s friends came by early to get her ready so they were able to enjoy the ride as well. It was pretty cool. Thanks to everybody who showed up and gave Ashlee a hug. She was so exhausted but hung in there till the end. We all had a laugh when we saw Ashlee’s face when her sister, Meghan blew out her candles. It was priceless. We did, of course, re-light them so Ashlee could blow them out. There was the awesome music by Zach Corbin, and the raffle prizes being called out. We were glad some of the firefighters from District 1 showed up. They presented Ashlee with a check from the “bootshake” that was a couple of weeks ago with the NHS cheerleaders and the Boyet cheerleaders. Thanks to all of you for being there and for your support. Awesome group of people. Thanks to all of the sponsors. We appreciate your generosity. Another exciting time was the live auction with the Saints items. Thanks to Sean Peyton and the team. Also special thanks to Drew Brees who signed a jersey especially for Ashlee and wished her a Happy 17th! We are so thankful for our family and friends, Eddie Deckwa, who initiated this, his family, our Community Christian Church family, who came together to make this possible for Ashlee. This could not have been possible without them. We thank all of the volunteers, and people who gave from their hearts & gave their time for Ashlee’s benefit. She absolutely loved all of her gifts and pulling out the tissue paper to see what was inside. We are forever grateful to all of you. XOXOXO
We also received some fantastic news from the Louisiana State Police, Troop L, who have granted Ashlee a “wish” to Disneyworld. Ashlee was only 8 years old the last time we went, so she’s really looking forward to this trip. Thank you LA State Troopers!
Thursday night we were invited to the school board meeting where they acknowledged the outstanding people who have been a part of the “Teen Focus on Safe Driving” program for the past 5 years. They also acknowledged Ashlee with an appreciation award for sharing her story with hope to inspire students to make the right choices when driving. They showed their support to us and our family now and for however long it takes for Ashlee to meet her goals.
November 5, 2009
Happy Birthday Ashlee! We are so grateful to have you with us today to celebrate another year of your life. Love, Dad, Mom & Meghan.
November 1, 2009
Less than one week away till the big birthday bash! Ashlee is so excited and can’t wait. We are definitely looking forward to seeing family, friends, and meeting new friends.
We are getting lots of good feedback from the video made by Channel 13. This video was made for the Teen Focus On Safe Driving Program. If you haven’t seen it, my awesome cousin who takes care of this site, put it in on the right side of this page under “links”. Pass it along to any teenager you know.
Yesterday we had the opportunity to meet an awesome group of firefighters. They held a “bootshake” for Ashlee and our family. The Northshore Cheerleaders, NHS cheer booster club, Boyet Cheerleaders and vice-principal were also there to help out. Ashlee waved to the passer-bys and they would honk and wave back.
We are so thankful to our firemen for their dedication, and for those who showed up first when we called for help a couple of Fridays ago. Ashlee had spasms that were the worst we had ever seen, and we called for an ambulance. The firemen showed up and took care of her. Thank God after some testing and observation, she was okay.
Today on this beautiful day, we went to SummerGrove Farm in Folsom for the New Heights Therapeutic Riding fundraiser. We met more wonderful people who give their time and energy towards a good cause helping children and people who have challenges.
Another blessing this weekend from a total stranger who drove all the way from the southshore to Slidell this evening to come see Ashlee and bring her a donation from him and his company. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.
We are very grateful for all the blessings we have had and continue to have.
October 16, 2009
Only 3 weeks away until Ashlee’s Birthday Bash! We hope you have marked your calendars. Ashlee is counting down the days.
This past Wednesday we were invited to the Castine Center for the Teen Focus on Safe Driving Program which is now in its 5th year here in St. Tammany Parish. Channel 13 (educational program) who are one of the sponsors of the program, followed us around filming Ashlee’s daily routine. They put together a spectacular video of Ashlee and her story. You can view it on the website www.stpsb.org (click the Channel 13 icon on the left), or by looking up their programming schedule and watching it on t.v. David and I were allowed to speak to the students, so I informed them that Ashlee was on a mission. She is wanting to get her story out to everyone because she doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else. And hopefully, we can make a difference.
October 7, 2009
What an awesome time Ashlee had at the pep rally last Friday. This was her first appearance at school and I think everyone was happy about it. The principal spoke a few words to the students about how homecoming was a memorable time; not to take these times for granted. Then he introduced Ashlee and I rolled her out to the middle of the gym floor in the center of the cheerleaders. The students were all clapping and cheering for her. She just put her pom poms in the air and took in all of the excitement.
After it was all over, she was greeted with hugs by so many. Another exciting time was the homecoming dance. Ashlee’s friends hung around her dancing and singing to her. She kept up with them as best she could, throwing her arms in the air and enjoying every minute. There were so many who came up to her and wanted to take a photo with her and giver her a hug. It was certainly an exhausting night.
Her PT is going great. She is now at 40% on the Lokomat. Her balance and posture have definitely improved. She impresses us every day. Tomorrow we will be in Folsom again. I’m sure Sunflower can’t wait to have her treat!
September 24, 2009
Ashlee has made a new friend. She’s the horse named Sunflower that Ashlee has been riding. We bring carrots and peppermints and she eats them up. We have been 5 times now and Ashlee is doing great. She keeps improving with every visit. Whoever wants to join our cheering section and is willing to take a ride to Folsom, we would love to have you.
We got a visit from some of the Pope John Paul II cheerleaders. They put together a fundraiser for Ashlee at their first home game and wanted to visit with us. We really enjoyed having you and thank you very much for your visit and your support. Come back again soon. You girls are great!
We just got tickets for Ashlee’s birthday party celebration and “new” Ashlee bracelets. These will be available from the above locations, as well as the P.O. Box listed above. Please mark your calendars. Ashlee is really looking forward to this, as well as we are. A celebration for her life!
Ashlee is still working hard on the Lokomat machine. Her PT has increased the speed on the treadmill and reduced the percentage to 45%. That means she is doing the other 55%. Speech is also coming along as well as eating. She asks for McDonald’s way too much! She’s a big ice cream lover by the way. If you come over, she may ask you to take her to get a frosty, or McFlurry.
Homecoming is this weekend. Yes, our house did get rolled last night on White Wednesday. Ashlee has picked out her dress and looking sooo forward to Saturday night, as well as the pep rally tomorrow. She is going to dress in her cheer uniform and make an appearance. I can’t wait!
I wanted to post this verse that I heard about recently. We are still “believing in faith” and when things don’t always seem to go the way we expect them to….we pray and ask for answers.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”
September 4, 2009
We are still receiving letters of encouragement and support from people all over the state and as far as Canada. We really appriciate your thoughtfulness. It really means a lot to us. We also got a visit from NHS baseball’s Coach Ruda and Coach Mauldin who came to give Ashlee a trophy from their 2009 State Championship win. It states: To our true champion, Ashlee Stokes. Ashlee said she was “speechless”. As most of you already know, Ashlee knows most of the baseball players who supported her during their game wearing yellow wrist bands.
More great news! Ashlee started hippotherapy last week. I know it has a strange name, but it is actually horseback riding therapy. Ashlee has to balance herself working all sorts of muscles. She is doing great. I spoke to a couple who volunteered to help with Ashlee at New Heights Theurapeutic Riding Center, and they told me about their son and the progress he had made from his accident. Its so great to talk to people who have such inspiring stories of hope and faith.
People have been asking about Ashlee’s big birthday bash since reading it in the paper. Some information is at the top of this page, and as we get more, I will be sure to post it. Ashlee is very excited about this, so please mark your calendars and come join us.
August 17, 2009 Thank you to all who reached out to us yesterday with encouraging words and support. We had one call from a lady in New Orleans who had an accident 12 years ago. Another person with hope for us.
Once again, Eddie of Eddie D’s Restaurant is organizing a dinner to benefit Ashlee and our family. The date is 11/7 and since Ashlee was in the hospital for her 16th birthday on 11/5 last year, she wants a Super Sweet 17th birthday party. You can contact Eddie @985-847-1000 for more info. I’ll update you on the details when we get them.
For those who did not see the article yesterday, here is the link:
August 15, 2009 Our schedule is busier than ever now that school is back in session. Ashlee will have three teachers coming to the house besides her therapy. Meghan has started 7th grade! Wow how time flies. We are very excited about the new computer Ashlee received from school to help her with communication and school work. Its an eye gaze system. Since Ashlee is still unable to use her hands, she will use her eyes to navigate through the computer. Its pretty awesome. We’re still in the beginning stages customizing it to fit her needs, but soon she’ll be up and running it on her own. Ashlee is still doing great on the Lokomat. She’s now at 45%. Still working on balance, oral and fine motor skills.
Ashlee has always been a beautiful girl, both inside and out. Very thoughtful, friendly, outgoing and sweet as ever. But, she was the typical teen not wanting her Mom to sit and have lunch with her at school when I was there as a substitute teacher. Now, she’s let her Dad and I know how much she appreciates us. She told me the other day I was the best Mom ever. Of course I don’t feel that way–but it was nice to hear her say that. She’ll also say, “only a Mom could do what you do”. She’s also one of the biggest Daddy’s girls ever! We are so proud of her.
July 29, 2009 As most of you know, we were back in court on Monday the 27th for the sentencing hearing of the driver who caused Ashlee’s injury. We are relieved this is over. We want to thank our dear friend Allison for giving an impact statement. You have been with us since the beginning and we appreciate that very much. Ashlee and I were also called to speak. I let the court know how this tragedy has affected our lives as well as Ashlee’s. I told them we were very grateful to have her with us, but saddened by her daily struggle to get her life back to normal. I also stated that I hoped that something good may come out of this and the other young lady realize her mistake and help someone else one day. I asked Ashlee if she had anything else to add. She whispered in her soft voice and said that she doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else. She also said that our family has become closer than ever. Her positive attitude is the person she was before, and who she is today. We are so proud of her and will continue this struggle until our little girl has had a full recovery.
Yesterday was a very busy day. Besides speaking with the reporters, we also had a visit from two Injury Prevention Program Coordinators with LSU Hospital. They have a program in collaboration with the LA State Police called Sudden Impact (An Injury Prevention Program). They choose a person every year, and use that person’s story to tell to sophomores of nine different high schools, and they chose Ashlee. We are so excited that Ashlee’s story will continue to be told, and possibly, hopefully, change one person’s mind and prevent another tragedy like this from happening.
Below is the article from the Times Picayune on the court verdict:
July 21, 2009 We just returned from Florida visiting our aunts, uncles, & cousins. Also hanging out on the beach. It was a great getaway which we all needed. Meghan & I had evacuated last year in September to Florida when Ashlee was still in the hospital, so it is such a blessing to have Ashlee and her dad, David, with us this year. Laying on the beach gave Ashlee some good ideas. She said she wants to design bathing suits. That is right up her alley considering what a great artist she was.
Ashlee went back to therapy yesterday. She’s made lots of improvement with eating. She’s asking lots of questions too, like, “has so & so come to see me?” Most of the names I don’t know, but she’s thinking more and more. She also asks what did she do to deserve this. Its very heartbreaking, but I tell her bad things happen to good people all the time. God has a reason. She always mentions a book she wants to write. “Family Strong” is the name of it. Her physical strength may be hurt right now, but her spirit & sense of humor are very strong.
We go back to court on July 27 for the sentencing of the guilty party to the accident. Not looking forward to it, so keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we once again have to face the past.
July 6, 2009 Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July! We stayed home and had some friends over, then David took Ashlee in the neighbor’s pool. She had a great time. It was an exhausting day for her.
I finally have her facebook page up and running. Some of you have mentioned that you can’t find it. If you search her e-mail address (email@example.com) you’ll be able to pull it up. Please send a short message just in case I don’t recognize your name.
June 24, 2009 Time is just flying by! Meghan started summer camp so she’s been busy, and Ashlee had started summer school. We got 2 new teachers for the summer and they are just great people. The math teacher has Ashlee working on geometry and the english/reading teacher is working on classic stories. Ashlee is doing great with both subjects. She still gets tired a lot, but does hang in there. She’s also progressed on the Lokomat (walking machine). She’s now at 50%, so she’s doing the other half of the work. I watched her the other day and she is doing an excellent job.
Ashlee really misses her friends and appreciates the ones that have not forgotten her. She had a special visit yesterday from a boy that remembered her from junior high. It was a very nice visit.
Ashlee’s Dad had a wonderful Father’s day. Last year we were in the hospital hoping and praying for Ashlee to respond in some way. This year, our prayers have been answered. Although she still has a lot of work to do to get her speech back, she is able to give her Dad a hug and tell him she loves him. What a great Father’s Day gift. We actually got away for the weekend and went to Grand Isle to Ashlee’s uncle Scott’s houseboat. Ashlee enjoyed being around her little cousins who call her “Ashalee”. She also loves the attention she gets from her aunts and uncles.
I have set up a facebook page for Ashlee. It’s still in the beginning stages, but eventually, she’ll be able to use it herself. We hope to be getting the computer from Assistive Technology which will allow Ashlee to be able to use it herself. In the meantime, I’ll be posting updated photos and videos.
May 20, 2009 Congratulations to the Northshore Panthers baseball team and their victory as State Champs this past Sunday! Way to go! Wish we could have been there. Ashlee was very touched when she heard that the team wore yellow around their wrists for her. Thank you boys.
This Monday will be one year from the date of Ashlee’s accident. We have had many emotions this past year but considering the severity of the accident and where we are now, we are so grateful. Grateful for our daughter to be home; grateful for all of the new friends we have in our lives; and grateful to all of the new friends we have not met, but who continue to pray for Ashlee.
She will have a small break for the next week or so from the teachers who come to the house, but will pick back up again on June 1st. She’s still going to outpatient therapy, and still working hard on the Lokomat. We’re planning a trip to Florida in July, so she’s looking forward to getting on the beach!
May 8, 2009 What a sigh of relief. We are glad that the trial is behind us, however, although the other driver was found guilty by a unanimous jury, we feel that there are no winners in this case. We will pray that the other girl come to grips with reality and find herself and the Lord and begin a new life without harming herself or anyone else.
We will continue to prosper and walk with the strength of God knowing He will use Ashlee one day for her to speak to other young people and convince them not to drive under the influence.
I wish all of you mothers and grandmothers a Happy Mother’s Day! I recently heard a mother say that you don’t realize how precious life is until something happens, and this is so true. Make every day count.
May 2, 2009 Wow! We are already in the month of May. This is the month of Ashlee’s accident and the start of the trial this week, so we have a lot on our minds. The District Attorney filed charges against the other driver who hit the car Ashlee was driving. It’s hard for us to go back to that day. We are focusing on the future and Ashlee’s recovery. Please keep us in mind and in your prayers to give us the strength to get us through this.
Ashlee is still taking baby steps with her recovery. She is now down to 55% on the Lokomat machine. Still needs assistance when she walks, but is doing much better with her steps. We are working with assistive technology and are getting a little closer to getting her on the computer. There’s a new system out there called eye gaze where she can use her eyes to navigate through the computer. Its pretty impressive. We can’t wait.
Last weekend we went to the zoo. Ashlee did great. It was only her second time out in public. I think she’s getting the hang of it. We really did have a good time. Family times have become very special. Cherish every one of them.
April 21, 2009 We had a great Easter break week. Ashlee still had outpatient therapy but we did have a couple of free days so we went shopping one day and had a visit from great Grandma who just made 94! When I told Ashlee Grandma was coming to visit, she asked if she was bringing gumbo. Ashlee didn’t forget that she loves Grandma’s gumbo. We also had a doctor’s visit so we went back to Touro and went to visit our friends there. They were so excited to see us. Ashlee was really happy she got to see them too. She’ll never forget her favorite therapists and nurses.
Ashlee is now at 60% on the Lokomat machine. She is working really hard at this. She wants to walk on her own really bad. Whenever given the choice, she wants us to walk her instead of using her wheelchair.
We were watching the news the other morning and saw the story of the Central Park jogger who was attacked 10 years ago in NY. She was in a coma and has since recovered and has been speaking across the country to “make a difference”. Ashlee said, in her low voice, that this was a sign. I asked her what was it a sign of. She said for her to be able to “make a difference”. She’s told us before that she wants to speak to people about drinking and driving. We smile just about every day with her progress and we are just inspired that our daughter is struggling to get her life back to as normal as possible and thinking about what she can do to “make a difference”.
Thank you to our angels who sent Easter cards with special thoughts and wishes. Same to you.
April 12, 2009 Mark 16:9-20 Rejoice! The Lord has risen! Happy Easter to everyone. Hope you have a great day as we will and spend good quality time with your loved ones on this joyous day.
March 23, 2009
Friday night was the varsity cheer squad, end of the year banquet. When we asked Ashlee if she wanted to go, her reply was, “of course”. When the principal mentioned how delighted he was to have Ashlee with us, everyone cheered. Ashlee was so proud to be included and raised her arm holding her award to show everyone how proud she was. She even had to wear her panther paw necklace she got to therapy today. The seniors also gave out their own awards to the sqaud and Ashlee’s was the “Dory” award because they said “she just keeps on swimming”. If any of you know of the Disney movie Finding Nemo, Dory was the fish that always looked on the bright side of things and never gave up. Thank you girls and parents for such a great night!
Mrs. Duffie called again to check up on Ashlee. She’s our 81 year old new friend who came to Touro out of the goodness of her heart to visit Ashlee after hearing her story in the newspaper. When I told her we would have to come visit her, she was so excited.
We’ve met with Ashlee’s new teachers…..all 3! She’ll begin working on Civics, English and Math this week. We’ll be quite busy.
March 12, 2009
Ashlee made the newspaper again. This is the link to the story in The St.Tammany New on 3/4/09.
The picture of her was taken a couple of days before the article and is the first published of her post accident. Its taken this long for her hair to grow out and I don’t think she would have been happy with me showing her with no hair. She says she wants to let it grow eventhough everyone tells her how cute it is. Ashlee is now at 75% on the Lokomat machine. I wish I could show all of you the video. Her left arm spasms seemed to increase over the weekend and the doctor is trying to get them under control, other than that, she is doing great. Her friend Shuler comes by at least once a week and they start joking with each other. Its so funny to see.
I have to give a huge thanks to the sponsor and Northshore High varsity cheer squad. One of the captains recently brought over a t-shirt from their national competition in Orlando that Ashlee would have been a part of….however, these girls have not forgotten their teammate. They included Ashlee’s name of the back with the rest. What an awesome group of girls!
February 25, 2009
WOW, this month flew by. We are still busy with therapy and schoolwork. Ashlee is still doing her best with whatever comes her way. I’ve watched her as tired as can be, and her muscles spasm on her and she still keeps going. She never ceases to amaze me. She is surprising us just about every day with the things she is saying. Just yesterday she told David she wanted a Coke. He said he didn’t know if we had any cold. Next thing we knew, she got herself over to the fridge in her wheelchair and opened it up. This may seem like a simple thing, but for us its huge. Ashlee is up to 45 minutes on the Lokomat machine at 80% for both legs. That means she is doing 20% of the work. They will keep increasing the percentage until she is doing it all on her own.
Today was Meghan’s 12th birthday. Since the kids are out of school this week, I took her and Ashlee to the spa. Meghan got the massage she’s been wanting. This was a real treat. I may have created a monster.
February 5, 2009
Well, Its been 2 months already since Ashlee has been home. We’re slowly but surely getting into a routine. Assistive technology is still in the works. Ashlee’s school assessment is still going well. I’m told it takes awhile. The teacher will keep moving up the levels until she reaches where Ashlee left off. Ashlee and I met with her therapists last Friday and went over her accomplishments and goals. They say they’ve seen improvement in all areas. We were put in contact with the right person who is helping with hand splints for her hands. We’ve seen a little improvement with her tone and flexibility, but these new splints should make things a whole lot better. We are so grateful to God for these blessings. Its amazing the people David has been coming in contact with. We’re also grateful for the continued words of encouragement sent to us by e-mail and cards, and for those of you still keeping Ashlee in your thoughts and prayers. David and Meghan saw a young man in the McDonald’s drive thru with an Ashlee bracelet on. When they told him who they were, he immediately asked how she was doing. That definitely warms our hearts. We know plenty of you are thinking of Ashlee every day. I also recently had someone tell me that seeing our family makes her realize her problems are nothing compared to what we are going through, and makes her realize what is important. This is by far the toughest challenge we are having to overcome. Like Ashlee says: “Its the toughest challenge for anybody.” We do believe that everything happens for a reason and as we continue to endure this challenge together, the positive impact and inspiration being shared is testimony of faith & love, and bringing families closer together. David had someone share the smallest prayer in the world with him. Only one word said three times says it all: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
January 26, 2009
Another busy week. Lots of assessments going on. On Friday, we had a visit from Mrs. Maus who is a teacher who works with kids unable to go to school and another visit from an assistive technology person who will get her the tools she needs to get on the computer and be able to communicate more freely. Her speech has gotten better, but not 100%. We are really excited about these wonderful opportunities and Ashlee did a wonderful job on her first day! Mrs. Maus gave her an A. She was also put on the Lokomat machine again for the third time and tolerating it very well. She exceeded the last time by going for almost 30 min.
Saturday was spa day. Ashlee went and had a facial and massage. I could tell she really liked it when she said she wanted to go back.
January 19, 2009
It has been a very busy exhausting week. We apologize for the delay with the update. We know how concerned everyone is and we appreciate that more than you may realize. Ashlee has started therapy which we are very happy about. The PT’s are working on balance and strength exercises. We got to see Ashlee use the Lokomat machine today for the first time. What an exciting opportunity she has to be exposed to the only machine like this in the state. It will assist in all areas needed to help Ashlee walk again. Ashlee’s OT, Shannon, is working on her left arm and hand, and the ST, Laura, is working with swallowing which is going well. We’ve also been in touch with the school, so we have a great group of people working on getting her the tools she needs to get back into school work.
I asked Ashlee to try to relax one day and shut her eyes and think about her life before the accident. She answered that she does all the time. The simple things we take for granted like eating, walking, talking…..she is dreaming about getting back. We have come to realize how important it is to live in the moment; thankful for every breath God gives us.
Happy Birthday to our angel, and Ashlee’s Nanny, Aunt Cindy.
January 6, 2009
Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday season. Ours was unusually quiet, taking care of Ashlee, and thanking God that she is home. We are very fortunate to have such wonderful family and friends. We are enthusiastic about this new year. Ashlee will be starting hyperbaric oxygen therapy and outpatient therapy which will include PT, ST & OT.
Ashlee continues to make slow progress. She is eating better now, although we still are working on the Big Mac and steak that she so desperately would like to eat. She’s doing better with her steps and balance but still needs assistance. And, we are seeing more and more of her personality. Her sister Meghan was able to make her laugh not too long ago. Its not a loud laugh, but only a couple of sounds she makes that is so sweet.
I asked Ashlee if she had anything to say because I was doing her update and she said that she wants everyone to know that she misses them and that this is a really long dream. — Its certainly a really long dream for us. We miss her very much and can’t wait until she is better again.
December 23, 2008 Congratulations to the winner of the raffle - Vick C. of Slidell! Surrounded by friends and family, we let Ashlee draw the winning ticket. Thanks to all of you who bought a chance. Ashlee is still receiving home therapy. She helped pick out the Christmas tree and also helped her Dad and Meghan with some lights.
Some people have mentioned wanting to come and visit. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas. Count your blessings and don’t take life for granted. Remember what is important, and God Bless. Love, the Stokes Family. David, Karen, Ashlee and Meghan.
December 14, 2008
We have had an awesome week. Ashlee loves being home so much. She’s asking so many questions. From what happened to her to what is my favorite season. She has often said that this is a long, long dream. It’s so hard to have to tell her that it is not. Our hearts are broken with the pain and suffering she has had and is continuing to go through, but her spirit is still fighting. She knows she will be better. I told her that the principal wrote her a nice note on her site and that his daughter, who is a friend, continue to pray for her. She says “that’s why I am getting better”. I told her she is right. That so many people are continuing to pray for her. Today was an article in the Times Picayune about Ashlee. I don’t think she realizes how thought of she is; but she will.
Therapy is going well. We’re still working on walking. Balancing is the challenge, but getting better. Eating is getting better too. We have a long road ahead so please keep us in your prayers. As Ashlee said, that’s why she is getting better. One of the therapists mentioned this week that he saw a couple of his daughter’s friends with an Ashlee bracelet. They go to a different school and they are thinking of her. How great is that! All of the love and support that we still continue to receive today–we can’t express our gratitude enough.
December 7, 2008
What an emotional day on Wednesday December 3rd. We have been looking forward to this day for a very long time. Our baby is home! We are so grateful for this day. Although Ashlee still has a lot of healing to do, we know in our hearts that she will succeed now surrounded by her family and friends and all those who love her.
We want to thank the Touro team very much for your love and compassion for Ashlee. You are a special group of people who we will never forget.
There has been a steady stream of visitors since Ashlee arrived home. It has been great for her to be surrounded by her friends, who we know she has missed very much. More and more of her personality is coming back. We’ve heard so much more from her these past couple of days, we are just so happy with each new thought she has.
This week she will start with home therapy. We’ve met the 3 new therapists and they all seemed very enthusiastic to work with Ashlee. We are very excited about the new chapter we are about to begin. Having our family together again is just the beginning.
November 28, 2008
We hope everyone had a great day yesterday for Thanksgiving. Our day went terrific. Thanks NHS varsity squad for the beautiful signs at the house. What a wonderful surprise for us and for Ashlee. When we got Ashlee home yesterday morning, she wanted to go to her room. So, we walked her up the stairs and she laid in her bed awhile with Meghan. Meghan and Ashlee are very close and Meghan has been wonderful with Ashlee’s care. She’s been very helpful this week being at the hospital with me and helping in anyway with Ashlee’s therapy.
We actually got to sit down as a family for the first time in over 6 months. All we can think about is what a blessing with all of the progress that Ashlee has made. We look forward to her continued progress and are ready for the next chapter that God has planned for us in our lives. We got good news this week that Ashlee will be coming home on December 3rd. She will have home therapy at the house for a few weeks and then she will start outpatient therapy. We are extremely excited to be able to have Ashlee home with us and are ready for the journey yet to come when Ashlee can walk back into Tulane Hos., Kindred Hos, and Touro and kiss and hug all the nurses and staff that took care of her.
Our reading for yesterday fit our day perfectly. “Nothing is impossible with God” Luke 1:37