In 2010, the community of Lynnwood Washington and the Meadowdale High School were devastated to learn that one of their students had succumbed to the cancer she had fought so long. In times of crisis, people will band together to try to make sense of something so tragic. They decided to honor Ashley and her fight with a new school scoreboard.
Ashley Aven was on the softball team at Meadowdale High School. She played the game she loved and was a normal teenager. With very few symptoms, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia which is an aggressive and rare disease. Ashley was a fighter, spending almost six months in Children’s Hospital undergoing chemotherapy in preparation for bone marrow transplant. The cancer was more resilient but Ashley vowed that “the cancer doesn’t have me”. The physicians had given her only two months, but she continued to live into nine months. The softball community of Lynnwood became a supporting factor for Ashley and her family, holding fundraisers for the expenses. Jay Buhner, former Mariner player, became one of Ashley’s friends and made arrangements for her to throw the coveted first pitch at one of the Mariner games.
Ashley’s tenacity and strength simply wasn’t enough and in 2010, Ashley’s pain and suffering ended. She was an inspiration to everyone in the community and school and a scoreboard in her honor would continue her memory for everyone. A local manufacturer of scoreboards heard about Ashley, and donated a new scoreboard in her name.
The scoreboard was planned for the softball field, because that is the sport that Ashley loved. In a way, it will encourage players and teams because this was her sense of school spirit. Each time a game is played, the fans will look to the scoreboard for an update or point change, and think of Ashley. To continue the honor, additional plans were made by the Meadowdale Sports Booster Club to create the “Ashley Aven Senior of the Year” award. The plans are to continue the award every year. Meadowdale High School has started an annual whiffleball tournament in Ashley’s honor. All proceeds from the tournament will be given to the “Ashley K. Aven Foundation”. This year, the new scoreboard was unveiled at the tournament.
Ashley’s incredible story of a vibrant life, taken too soon may never offer a sense of logic. These things happen in our lives and the families and community struggle to come to grips with their loss. Ashley Aven was an individual of integrity and grit. Her situation makes us stop and consider how fragile life really is. While we never feel like any action is enough to do tribute to someone like Ashley, the new school scoreboard would have been something that would give her a sense of pride.
Kids will play softball on the field. Parents will watch in pride as the teams perform their best. Meadowdale High School has memorialized Ashley’s fight and gives everyone an opportunity to know her inspiration.