OCU honored Angel Ashley, a former Miracle Network Hospitals Champion Child and inspiration behind Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores fundraising efforts, with a reception.
The reception took place in the Hall of Honor in the Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Center during the last week of October. It was attended by Miss OCU contestants and former winners, along with trustee Jane Jayroe Gamble, a former Miss America.
Ashely, a 20 year old aspiring fashion designer, was diagnosed with Spina Bifida when she was a child. This debilitating developmental disorder occurs in the womb, when a baby’s spinal column does not close all the way. Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth effect present in the United States today.
Despite the debilitating nature of her disease, Ashley has spent her life pursuing her dream of becoming a fashion designer. Ashley is a frequent spectator at fashion shows in the area. Her journey with Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores began at one such fashion show, when Tom Love met her at a show by Marianne’s Rentals.
Love learned that Ashley had won her internship at Marianne’s Rentals after approaching Brent Patterson, Marianne’s Rentals director of marketing, after a fashion show.
In a press release, Patterson said that Angel won his estimation right away.
“She came and started interning for us, and there was an immediate connection,” Patterson said. “We were immediate friends.”
After seeing the hard work and dedication Ashley put into her work with Marianne’s, Tim Love decided to feature her as the inspiration behind the store’s 2014 Children’s Miracle Network fundraising campaign.
Children’s Miracle Network includes 170 hospitals across the United States and Canada. The network is dedicated to raising funds which it then donates to these hospitals to be used for research, patient care, and family resources.
Ashley was featured in a video on the Love’s website, after receiving a makeover at blo. (Blo Out Bar) courtesy of Marianne’s Rentals.
While working with Love’s, Ashley emphasized the importance that setting goals and working hard has had on her life.
“I think what gets you disappointed and feeling like you can’t do anything is actually not doing anything,” Ashley said. “You can do something. Get out there and do it.”
Love’s ended its fundraising events in September. To date, the program has raised over $9.5 million for Children’s Miracle Network.