A Fish Story




A Remarkable Fish

By Ashley S.


This is my friend and fellow artist, Ashley, on her 16th birthday. Isn’t she beautiful?  She is one of the reasons I go to Florida every year on vacation.  This year, since it was her 16th birthday, it was a command that I attend, and I’d have it no other way.  Ash is a very special girl.  I have known her since she born and, through the most difficult and trying times, have watched her grow and couldn’t be more proud of her if she were my own daughter.  Her story follows…

 Ashley was born with a severe case of quadriplegic cerebral palsy and was not expected to live more than a few months.  She defied the odds, contradicting the predictions of all of her physicians and is now 16 years old.  From the beginning she has undergone myriad medical treatments, taken enough medications to sink the Titanic, and endured constant physical therapy from the time she was able to move her arms and legs.  Gradually, even with therapy, her physical condition has deteriorated and she can no longer stand, walk, bathe, or feed herself.  She still maintains very limited motor skills and, with some assistance, can paint.  She has a special computer that, with special software, she can communicate, play some games, take educational courses to help with her education.  She attends a public high school and, other than being bound to her wheelchair, is a normal girl…., strike the normal part.  She is a very bright young woman who is held prisoner inside of a body that will not function for her.  She reads and writes (with the help of the computer) and communicates on social networks with her friends. One of the saddest parts of this is that she can no longer speak.  The CP has taken that away from her now.  The miracle of it all is that she remains upbeat, smiling, and happy, (most of the time)….  She has her moments, but then, don’t we all.


We’re getting ready to paint.


The Red Headed Bird and the Purple Bull

The two paintings shown above are the result of approximately 3 hours of concerted effort for Ash.  Being with her and helping her with the thing she most loves was worth the trip !  She loves to paint, but (at this point) always needs help, and help isn’t always available.  Karen, Ashley’s mother, called after I left and she said that Ash had become very quiet and sad.  Later that night I got an email from Ash simply stating, “I love you.  Come back soon.”  Brought tears to my eyes.  As I said at the beginning…, she’s a very special girl….., but then I may be slightly prejudiced.


Good Night Everybody !!!






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