Today I cut 17″ inches off of my hair. I didn’t do it because I wanted my hair short, or wanted to try something new, or was trying to make life easier by giving myself less hair to deal with in the hectic life of being a mom. The fact is I really like my hair long and since I can’t braid it anymore (which is was my go-to hair style), cutting it is going to force me to actually do something with my hair, making life a bit more difficult for me. This hair cut was not about me. I cut my hair today in memory of a woman named Ashley Bridges, who died of bone cancer on June 23. My hair is going in the mail tomorrow to Locks of Love to be made into a wig for a child fighting cancer in her name. I haven’t cut my hair since moving to Wisconsin and had to go to someone new. I got a recommendation from my neighbor, who goes to a stylist in our little downtown area. We couldn’t really afford for me to go drop $50 on a haircut, but this was really important to me, so I made the appointment anyways. The stylist ended up doing it for free because I was donating it! It was such a blessing, I started to tear up.
I never met Ashley, or ever even spoke to her. I heard of her story on Facebook through a photographer that I follow, Love Song Events and Photography: Ashley was 25, engaged, and pregnant with her second child. One day she was perfectly normal and the next day she couldn’t walk. When she was diagnosed with bone cancer, doctors urged her to start treatments right away to give her the best chance at beating the cancer. But if she did that, it would mean terminating her pregnancy. Although she knew that it might cost her her own life, she could not sacrifice her daughter for her own gain. So she went against the doctor’s advice and bravely carried on with her pregnancy, and gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl, Paisley. They started her treatments immediately after she gave birth, but her cancer was too far advanced. Her will to live was still so strong, and through it all she was said to have remained a positive light shining brightly into the lives of everyone around her. As her story spread, she was even able to inspire and touch people like me, who have never met her. Last December, her and her fiance were able to have the wedding of their dreams for free. Love Song Events and Photography called upon their vendors and they all donated their time and resources to bless them. You can watch a news segment covering her story and their wedding on CBS website.
Although I never knew her, I was so touched by her story. To put yourself at risk in order to save your child is the ultimate act of love. I joined up with her friends and family and probably thousands of other strangers and prayed hard for her to beat her cancer. Even though she lost her battle, she was able to impact so many lives and was able to share so many memories with her 7 year old son and 1 year old daughter. Towards the end when the doctors were giving her a few days to live, she rallied for a few weeks, and was able to watch Paisley take her first steps. Now that she’s gone, I will continue to lift her family up in prayers. I will even be so bold as to pray the impossible prayer that Paisley will be able to hold on to one genuine memory of her brave mama. One memory that is not from pictures that are shown to her or stories that are told to her. But one memory that can be locked away in her heart that she remembers on her own.
Every time I look at my hair, I will think of Ashley. Of how brave and selfless she was. And I will pray for her family; that they will hold on to all the good that she poured into them, so that they can go out in the world and shine their lights as fearlessly as their mama did. Although I was not lucky enough to know Ashley in this life, I know that I will meet her in heaven. Until then, I want her family to know that she forever touched me, and will never be forgotten.
If you would like to read more about Ashley’s story from someone who actually knew her, and watch a video collage they put together in memory of her, check out Love Song Events and Photography Facebook post.
Will you join me in covering her family in prayer?