Community Support is at the Forefront of Ashley’s Journey
MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – In January of 2021, Ashley Herman was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a blood cancer that starts in the lymphatic system which helps the immune system fight infections.
A world of hospital visits, treatments and side effects ensued. From the onset of the diagnosis, Ashley was determined to beat the disease and resume a semi-normal life.
The community has rallied around the Columbus High School graduate as places including Jack’s Bar, Outer Limits Bar, Columbus Catholic Schools and others have donated or hosted events to help her cause. Ashley said the community’s support has been nothing short of amazing.
“The community has been amazing,” Herman said. “Having a whole community rallying behind you and getting you through every treatment was the best motivation I could have ever had. I truly couldn’t have done it without the love and prayers from my whole community. I have never felt more love and kindness.”
An August event at Outer Limits Bar outside of Marshfield brought a hundreds of supporters to help bid on raffle baskets and help fundraise for the Herman family. Although the outpouring of community support was helpful, Ashley’s family and friends received praise from Ashley herself for the way they handled and helped the stressful situation.
“My family and friends have been amazing,” Herman said. “My parents supported me every step of the way and whatever I needed, they were there. My brother would always make me laugh when I didn’t want to smile through the pain and sickness. My boyfriend would never leave my side and always reminds me how beautiful I am with or without hair. And my friends have all been supportive whether it was lending an ear to listen or doing something fun to distract me from what was all going on.”
Then, in early December, Ashley was notified that she won a contest to design Green Bay Packer running back Aaron Jones’s cleats that would help benefit childhood cancer.
Ashley and her family won tickets to the Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears football game where Jones scored two touchdowns while wearing the cleats Ashley designed.
Along with the notoriety came lots of media coverage and attention but Ashley said it was all worth it to see her cleats being worn in an NFL game.
“It’s been hard for me also getting all of the attention but going to the Packer game and seeing Aaron Jones wearing my cleats and representing every pediatric cancer patient who is fighting for their life was breathtaking,” Herman said.
Now, after all the treatments and hospital visits, Ashley is one hospital visit away from ringing the bell signaling she is done with treatments and on her way to recovery. She said it is such a relief to be in remission and to be able to ring the bell.
“I am so happy to be done with treatment and look back at how far I’ve come,” Herman said. “I want to make my health my priority and continue to be thankful for everyday God has given me.”
The recent Columbus grad will still have to get scans done every three months to ensure the cancer stays in remission. Ashley said she is going to be leading a healthy lifestyle to keep her immune system strong and will begin college in the fall for Business Management and Human Resources.
She was thankful for the support she received and that they are the reason she will be able to resume a normal life.
“Everyone that has contributed to my battle with both financial and emotional support, I cannot thank you enough,” Herman said. “You are the reason I am here today and I am able to say I beat cancer. I will forever be in debt to this community and hope to pay it forward.”
The long journey has brought out the good in the Marshfield community and Ashley hopes that people will continue to help those in need in the future.
“I also want to encourage everyone to support each other through hard times whether it is health related or not, reaching out to those in need has more of an impact than you will ever know,” Herman said. “I had people send me donations or cards with incredible motivating messages that I didn’t even know. I encourage all of you to keep being the generous and loving people you are.”
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