Ashley Morgan Spiller was born to Valerie and Alvin Spiller at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California on December 30, 1985.
Ashley was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, a type of childhood cancer at age 5 1⁄2 years old. On that day the doctors encouraged her parents that this was a very curable disease and that Ashley would have to have some chemotherapy for a short period, but there was a 95% cure rate with that type of cancer.
Scared but thankful, she began her journey along with her parents, family, and friends. Six months seemed forever, but soon the chemotherapy was over, but not without some painful experiences for a young girl. Despite the experiences, Ashley just wanted to continue to be a happy six year old, to have her hair grow back, enjoy life, dream, and be normal.
THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN THE DIAGNOSIS OF CANCER IN A CHILD THAN FINDING OUT THAT CANCER HAS RETURNED. At the age of 14, she was just starting a new school and was so looking forward to playing soccer. But, before all that could begin, she was stricken with a second cancer that was diagnosed as a malignant meningioma/ undifferentiated sarcoma of the brain.
Ashley had to have major surgery to remove the tumor and then daily radiation. She was determined not to let that stop her, so everyday she went for radiation treatments and her classes. As soon as the radiation was completed, she set her sites again on playing soccer. She was relentless in her quest to get her doctors to write letters to her school allowing her to rejoin the team.
Three years later, a follow-up routine chest x-ray to her Hodgkin’s disease showed a single lung nodule; her and her parents feared the worst. She went into surgery to remove the single lung nodule, and came out of surgery minus her right lung lobe and the diagnosis of recurrent cancer.
The treatment was surgery only. Somehow to everyone’s amazement, this young girl continued to enjoy as much as she could and stayed focused on what she wanted to accomplish in life. Ashley never stopped or slowed down, she just moved on to the next phase. High school, debutante, prom, soccer, college applications, college visits, and high school graduation. Ashley was determined to go away for college and finally settled on attending the University of San Francisco. The summer of 2004 was filled with excitement as she went off to college, dorm life, and starting anew. Ashley was looking forward to making friends and being around people who weren’t aware of her medical history.
Ashley was so excited about college and was having the time of her life. She pledged a sorority, volunteered her time in the community, and with school politics. After completing her dance class final, she started having pain when walking. She felt that she had pulled a muscle or something during the class. Ashley came home for winter break and the pain just continued, so her parents decided to have it checked out. Unfortunately, this resulted in the discovery of a mass in her pelvic area. Ashley was crushed to think that she could not go back to school. She was determined that no matter what she would continue.
After long discussions and painful decisions on the part of her parents, it was decided that if she would agree to taking a semester off and start with therapy locally, then they would do whatever possible for her to return to USF. Ashley agreed and started radiation therapy and chemotherapy. By the summer she held them to their word and returned to USF. Ashley managed school, chemotherapy, volunteer work, school committee assignments, and even moving into an apartment. Shortly after moving into her apartment the tumor had spread to her lungs again and this time included her heart and the doctors felt it was time for her to return home. This did not stand well with Ashley, she was determined yet again not to let cancer dictate her life. She agreed to come home but still wanted to attend college, and with the aid of those who loved her, she was accepted as a transfer student at Loyola Marymount University, where she attended school and continued with more radiation therapy until her last day.
Everyone that ever came in contact with Ashley was amazed by her love of life and determination to not let cancer dictate who she was, or how she lived. From her doctors, teachers, classmates, friends and family she was an amazing young lady whom you just had to love. Ashley’s parents, family and friends are so proud of her resolve to be strong, and continue with her dreams and desires despite her life long struggle with cancer.
In December of 2005, just a few weeks before her 20th birthday, Ashley left this life and battle, but not without leaving an indelible mark upon their hearts. To the very end, Ashley continued to fight to live her life her way, despite cancer. Her parents, family and friends are determined not to let her spirit end but to continue her dream by helping others, like Ashley living with cancer.
Thus a new birth, the Ashley Morgan Spiller Foundation!
Full Name- Ashley Morgan Spiller Birthday- December 30, 1985 Born- Los Angeles, California
Favorite Colors – Purple
Favorite Animal – Dogs
School – Junior, Loyola Marymount University
Favorite part of school – Everything but especially Acting classes/Delta Zeta Sorority and parties.
Favorite Food – Liked many foods, especially Tacos
Favorite Book – Ayn Rand – The Fountainhead
Favorite Movie – Clueless and Godfather II
Favorite TV Show – Gray’s Anatomy and The Daily Show
What I want to be when I grow up – Actress/Lawyer
Favorite Activity – Acting/Shopping/ Reading/ Appreciating Street Graffiti Artists works.
Place I most want to visit – Europe, especially Paris, France
Favorite Sport – Soccer/ Basketball