This is Ashton….
If I had to do an acrostic poem with his name:
A mazing kiddo
S ensative to his little brother
H olds the Lord and his teachings close
T ickled by runners who do so without a shirt (he found this quite amusing)
O verwhelming love from his family and friends
N ot just your average 7 year old..oh so much more
Ashton has AVM… AVM (Arterial Venous Malformation). As his mom cites, “I am now an AVM expert, but it is one word I wish I never learned. We all have arteries and the blood flows quickly through the arteries. Arteries lead to capillaries which slow the blood flow down before it reaches the veins. Ashton does not have the capillaries and the area where the capillaries are supposed to be is malformed, hence Arterial-Venous Malformation or AVM. Ashton does not have 1, but 4-5. Unfortunately, AVMs are more common than we originally thought but he has numerous and his are very involved and large. It was determined that they are not able to fix or operate on them because they are so diffuse and deep within the brain. Having an AVM causes other problems and puts him at risk for a stroke but they felt that attempting to fix them could cause more problems.”
Wow, right? By the way, Ashton’s incredible Mom has written a little history if you will about her awesome son…and you can read that here.
This session was arranged through a pretty neat organization called Inspiration Through Art (and if you click on that link you can read more about them as well). We (Ashton’s Mom and I) have quite a few mutual friends however, so I had already been following Ashton and his story. I was so excited when she contacted me to do this session!
If one thing stuck out to me at this particular session, it was the LOVE. I mean, look at Ashton and the way he cares for his little brother Jonah. Do you see the happiness on his face when his mom is kissing him? The pictures radiate how special their bond is, and THAT is truly something i couldn’t pose or “make” happen. I am just there to capture it–so that is just what I did!
I think his mom Betsy says it best, “I certainly won’t claim that our life is easy or that I didn’t wish my child was normal. He has gotten stared at, made fun of, and even followed so people could get a look at the veins on his face. It breaks my heart that this little boy that has been through so much gets stared at sometimes made fun of by other children and even adults. However, he never lets it get him down and responds with, ‘this is how God made me.’ In my eyes there is a big difference between being curious and mean. I prayed and prayed that he would live to see his 1st birthday and he is 7!! Each year, each day, each hour with him is a blessing and we are blessed to be his parents. He did not walk until almost 2 years of age. The joy that we felt is immeasurable. Looking at this child who suffered so much take his first steps is a feeling I could not describe. I dream of watching him ride a bike and graduating. I dream of the bright future filled with joy and happiness. I don’t care what he does as long as he is safe, happy, and healthy.”
Enjoy this peek of Ashton and his biggest blessings…..and please read his story when you have a moment. It’s worth listening to.