losing hair, choosing joy and giving hope

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of this beautiful lady:

But if not, please let me introduce you.

This is Ashley. She writes a blog at Lil Blue Boo. She is crafty and talented and has a line of whimsical, ruffly clothes for girls.

She’s beautiful and has a beautiful heart as well.

Last fall, after having a miscarriage earlier in the year, Ashley and her husband tried to get pregnant again. This time, her pregnancy resulted in a rare form of cancer called Choriocarcinoma. You can read more about this story here.

This form of cancer spreads quickly, and Ashley’s case has been no different. She is fighting, living joyfully and gracefully in spite of the ways it has challenged her faith and impacted her family.

A few weeks ago, she shaved her head. That beautiful head of long blonde hair.

I know this is a normal step for most cancer-fighters and so many women go through the same process with such strength.

Ashley documented this rite of passage, as she calls it, in this touching video. Seriously, you should watch it.

Rite of Passage – Shaving my Head from Ashley Hackshaw on Vimeo.

I cried through the whole thing. Not because it is particularly sad … but just trying to put myself in her shoes made me emotional. She’s a young woman. A mommy. She’s too young to be going through this.

And her mom shaving her head the day before just to support her daughter? That is the kind of mom I want to be to my kids. What an inspiring story.

I also cried because in an embarrassingly vain way, I can’t imagine shaving my head. I like my hair. It defines me. Who is Emily? She is the girl with the long, red hair. It’s always how I’ve been described. I’m sure the same has been said about Ashley’s pretty hair.  So to think about taking off that comfort blanket – knowing that the whole reason it is falling out is because it means the medicine is working – that just feels so overwhelming to me. And the fact that she is smiling through the whole process speaks volumes to her decision to choose joy.

Ashley is a brave woman. As are so many others who have endured the same event in their fight with cancer. I am in awe of her bravery, strength and grace.

As we all know, the medical expenses for treating this disease are crazy. So a group of ladies joined forces and created the Team Ashley Auction.

Reason 4,072 why I love this blogging community.  People taking care of people.

There are over 200 items available for purchase and ALL of the proceeds will go directly to Ashley and her family to help cover medical bills.  The auction is live and will end tomorrow {wednesday}.  If you are not the auction type, you are welcome to donate directly on the auction website or at Evy’s Tree blog {and read much more about Ashley’s story}.

In order to bid, you need a hyena cart account {super easy – just enter an email and password and you’re set}. You can do so here.

Once that is finished, you can start shopping {and supporting!}.

{click the image to go to the auction}

It is a wonderful thing that we are able to use this technology to support those in need – even if we’ve never met. I am honored to get to be part of this.

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31 Responses to losing hair, choosing joy and giving hope

  1. Leah February 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    Hi Emily,

    I’ve been following your site for about 2 months now – I think you are inspiring, passionate, and creative – everything I hope I can be for my (soon-to-be) husband and to (someday) family. I’ve never posted anything before, but I watched the video of Ashley and I cried (silently, since I’m at work) the whole time. It was beautiful and touching, and she will be in my prayers. I even bid on a few items from the auction.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing, and it’s sure been nice to (sort of) meet you!

  2. Molly February 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing this. What a beautiful video and beautiful family. I will keep her in my prayers.

  3. stephany February 28, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Thanks for sharing.
    I have been following her blog and fine her so truly amazing and inspiring.
    My mom went through chemo 9 years ago and I remember going to get her hair cut before it all fell out. She just went very short…the next day it started falling out in clumps. She shaved it all off. My sister also shaved her head in support.

  4. Sally February 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    That was beautiful and she is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Kristina Churchill February 28, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    We love Ashley! She is everything that you have described and more. Thank you from just one of thousands of her fans, for writing a touching positive story about her and everything she is going through. She really “Chooses Joy” everyday!

    Kristina

  6. melodee February 28, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    what an amazing mother, wife, daughter she is! even more amazing that she is so positive and joyful:) so inspiring

  7. brittanyMakes February 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    i’m balling! and I dont have a tissue. My dad just went through chemo and radiation, now every time i learn of someone getting cancer it wrecks me. Ashley is gorgeous, and that video was so moving. I will do what I can to help support her fundraiser.

    thank you so much for sharing

  8. Mrs. Business February 28, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing this story. Hair loss is such a scary experience for women. My best friend battled breast cancer for three years before losing her fight in April. She had just started chemo and was terrified of losing her hair. I had been chosen as the friend who would shave my head “in solidarity.” Kim died before she lost her hair – which we now realize is a blessing. But I’d do anything to be bald with her.

    Ashley and her family are in my prayers.

  9. Bre @roomsFORrent February 28, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    I don’t even have words right now.. but this has impacted me so much. I can’t even imagine being in her shoes, and just want to say thank you so much for sharing! I will be praying for this amazing woman and her family!

  10. Jill February 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Hi Emily,

    I can only hope that I, if facing the same, could show so much grace, poise and strength. Thanks for sharing this…..Sending prayers her way!
    xo~Jill

  11. Pamela Bates/Mercantile Muse February 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    i cried through the whole thing too when i saw it a few weeks ago. there is just SO much love in that video, through an utterly challenging and trying moment. you can feel the love and ashley’s strength.

  12. Charlene February 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    I’ve visited Lil Blue Boo blog before but not in awhile so I had no idea Ashley was going through such a tough struggle…Thanks for sharing. Will pass it on.

  13. Sandra February 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    It makes a little emotional- when I hear of the struggles that people go through when they are diagnosed with cancer. Cancer tests spiritual and physical strength…I’ve seen it too many times.
    Thank you for sharing- and may God Bless Ashley and those who face the same struggle.

  14. Jill Leaming February 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    Thank you so much for posting this. I had not heard her story yet. I cannot imagine going through all of this. I have never had cancer and hope to never have it. 5 weeks ago tomorrow my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung and brain cancer. It is the most shocking news I have ever had in my life. And my family. The hardest thing about it all is that I am 8 months pregnant. Praying that my father can make it to see his new grand baby girl is all I am doing right now.

    He is undergoing radiation and yesterday had his first chemo treatment. He started losing his hair last week just from the radiation. The side effects he has had from radiation and steroids have been awful. He has lost 21 lbs just in the past few weeks. He has also started having side effects from his brain tumor. Forgetting things, confusion, EXTREME anger. And none of those things he can control at all. None of us can. And that is the hardest thing about all of it. We have to completely put all of our trust in the Lord to control this situation. Its what we should do, but its hard at the same time.

    It makes me appreciate people and life more. Things that seemed like “big” problems before seem so small now. I have a completely different veiw of life now. Count every single day as a blessing.

    Thank you so much for posting about this.

  15. Katy February 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    Emily, they will be in my thoughts and prayers. You are so kind to do this. I’ll be happy to donate a set of tea towels @ http://www.lollylinens.com. All the Best, Katy

  16. Cindy February 28, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    You know what’s really hard for me… is that the medical treatments for her could decimate their finances… I believe good medical care should be a given in this country, and not something that if you can’t afford it, someone can come take your home. What a brave and beautiful woman and family… and i so appreciate you posting this… I will look at the team Ashely auction… and maybe i can donate a painting…

    Cindy

  17. Shawna February 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    Rite of Passage :: amazing — I’m amazed by her strength, can’t comprehend any of this. Thanks for sharing! XoXo*S

  18. Sandra February 28, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    That was really beautiful, can’t stop thinking about it. Wow!

  19. mary beth February 29, 2012 at 5:15 am #

    What a great idea! I, too, love how the blogging community is so supportive…thanks for helping this beautiful young woman.

  20. christina February 29, 2012 at 6:52 am #

    I cried the entire video. What a courageous woman. I hope I am the mom that she is one day. I am so inspired.

  21. Laura February 29, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    Thank you for sharing this story with us. What an amazing example of the Lord working and providing comfort and joy!

  22. Carolyn February 29, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing that! It is so inspiring!

  23. Lindsey February 29, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Hi Emily,
    Thank you so much for posting this! I just found out about the organization below. Please read and pass the information on to Ashley. I know it’s something simple but maybe it will be a blessing to her ;-)

    Cleaning for a Reason
    If you know any woman currently undergoing chemotherapy, please pass the word to her that there is a cleaning service that provides FREE housecleaning – once per month for 4 months while she is in treatment. All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor fax a note confirming the treatment. Cleaning for a Reason will have a participating maid service in her zip code area arrange for the service. This organization serves the entire USA and currently has 547 partners to help these women. It’s our job to pass the word and let them know that there are people out there that care. Be a blessing to someone and pass this information along.

    http://www.cleaningforareason.org/

  24. Anice February 29, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    Thank You for bringing things into perspective for me today. My prayers today will be for Ashley and her family.

  25. Jean @ Flower Hill February 29, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Thank you for sharing this. Ashley is a true inspiration.

  26. Karen February 29, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Wow. I feel speechless. I have nothing to complain about and so much to be thankful for. I am so thankful she has such a sweet supporting family. Her husband shaving her hair…that was SO touching. Amazing is all I can say.

  27. Annie February 29, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing this today. I wanted to let you know that I felt called to share it as well on my blog, and I cited you as the source. Just a friendly heads up! Thanks again!

  28. Alecia Shannon February 29, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    She is STUNNING!!! Thanks for introducing her to us…I will be praying for her & her family!

  29. LLH Designs February 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    I just sobbed my way through that video. I want to go to read more about her story, but am not sure I can see through the tears. Come, Lord Jesus. COME.

  30. Erica J March 1, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    I cried for the same reasons you did. I was waiting for her at any moment to put her head in her hands and cry, not just because of the hair but the symbolism of it all. I know I would. I am in awe of her strength and trust in God. Thank you for sharing. We all need a reality check once in a while.

  31. Earline March 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    I just finally got to sit down at my PC and watch the video. How moving! And how amazing is her husband to kiss her along the way? I pray should I ever face such a challenge, that I can be as bold and courageous! God Bless this family!

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