Ashleigh was set to participate in her first CureSearch Ultimate Hike in 2011, but was injured during training and had to drop out. She knew that she wanted to try to Hike again, and this year when the opportunity came around, she jumped at it, convincing her fellow nurse Linda to join her. Together they began training and raising funds.
Ashleigh became a pediatric oncology nurse purely “by accident,” she says. Already a nurse, she was looking to move closer to family and there was an opening in pediatric oncology at the same hospital where her mother has worked almost her whole life. While Ashleigh originally wanted to work with mothers and babies, after her first couple of days in pediatric oncology, she was in love with the specialty. She enjoys getting to know each family and working with them through the entire process – from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, and then either through survivorship or, unfortunately, end of life.
Linda worked with children for many years before accepting a position in pediatric oncology. She walked into the department and heard the kids playing and crying and said to herself “Wow, you are a pediatric nurse.” After just the first couple of days, she knew that she had to stay. She loves working with the children and families and doing for others.
Throughout training for Hike, Linda and Ashleigh kept the kids that they take care of in mind. Whenever training seemed too hard, or fundraising felt daunting, they would remember a specific child, or all the children they cared for that week, and be motivated to keep on pushing.
When the Hike weekend finally came around, they both felt prepared. While neither of them had ever done something like this before, they were confident in the training they had done and the coaching they had received. What they weren’t prepared for was the bond that they felt with their fellow hikers. They heard stories of people from across the state, and felt a common thread in every story – that these hikers would do anything for children with cancer.
Linda and Ashleigh are already looking forward to their next Ultimate Hike. They continue to hike together in their spare time, and can’t wait to get out on the trail again for children’s cancer.