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Ashton Hawkins

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Ashton’s story begins with her. A beautiful, loving, selfless girl. She truly has the biggest heart and always puts others before herself. Ever since she was born, Ashton has been such a light in her family's life, with the most contagious giggle. Her love of life, for her sisters, helping others, and being so giving and selfless are just some of the things that make Ashton so special.

Ashton’s cancer story didn’t start with a brain scan. It began weeks before her brain cancer was discovered. Her symptoms began with dizziness, followed by terrible headaches where her skull and spine meet, and bouts of vomiting. After consecutive weeks of headaches, Ashton's mom, Amanda, asked where exactly her head hurt, and she pointed to the lower back side of her head. Amanda says, "That was the first time the ‘C’ word ran across my mind. But as we sometimes do, I told myself, 'No way, not us. This can’t be cancer.'" Ashton's mom knew that was not a normal spot for a headache. But then she reasoned that the headaches were getting so frequent, and the medicine hadn’t been helping, and she would keep a really close eye on things.

After cheer practice one night, Ashton’s head started hurting so badly that she was screaming. It was at this point that Ashton’s mom brought her to the ER at Cincinnati Children’s Liberty, where they were sent to urgent care, and their concerns were dismissed…no scans or bloodwork were done, only an eye exam. Their remedy: “Drink Mountain Dew, at least she’s not throwing up.”

A few weeks later, on Ashton’s second day of school, she got sick yet again. Amanda called her husband and said, “We need to get her to the emergency room now.” They called Ashton’s doctor's office and asked they call ahead to the ER, and just two hours later, our lives were changed forever…the initial CT scan showed a 3x4cm mass in the back of her brain, right by her spinal cord.

August 22, 2023, is etched in the mind of Ashton’s family forever. The phone rang and the doctor on the line, “we found a mass.” Amanda recalls, “Uncontrollable tears started streaming down my face. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk. I’d known. And I hadn’t done anything sooner because I’d kept telling myself it wasn’t cancer, it couldn’t be.”

Within 24 hours, they learned Ashton had an aggressive brain cancer and was to undergo a nine-hour surgery in just three days.

Click here to read more of Ashton's story. 

Date of Diagnosis:
August 30, 2023

Age at Diagnosis:
6 years old

Age Now:
7 years old

Type of Brain Cancer:

Summary of Treatment:
-2 Brain Surgeries
-6 Weeks of Radiation
-Ovarian Tissue Preservation
-9 Rounds of Chemotherapy

"In a house of 5 daughters who are sisters, and best friends, my girls have an unbreakable bond. And when I truly think about it, I always wondered why God blessed us with all girls. I never pondered it a lot, but it makes sense today.

With Ashton being so isolated from the world, she has four of the best friends, supporters, and cheerleaders every little girl would dream of. They keep her busy, even more motivated, and even at such young ages, have seen how cancer has changed their sister while they themselves are trying hard to navigate their own understanding of cancer.

Nothing could change their love and fierce protection they have for her."
- Amanda, Ashton's Mom

"I hope that Ashton will have a success story to give the parents who are just starting out in their journey the faith that their child will make it through and that they are so strong, no matter how they feel during this battle.

While I hold onto the hope that federal funding will change and childhood cancer treatments and funding will receive the awareness it needs, our voices seem to fall on deaf ears, and I hope one day, as a collective group, our advocacy moves mountains and eradicating childhood cancer becomes a national movement."
-Amanda, Ashton's Mom

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