A Darien Center teenager is seeing her dreams come true, thanks to generous donations from people across WNY.
18-year-old Ashley McCormack was born with a rare neurodegenerative disease, and as it progressed, she lost her ability to walk when she was eight. The once-active young woman wanted the chance to be an independent teenager, and WNY helped her achieve those dreams.
Today, Ashley is the proud owner of a new, all-terrain wheelchair.
Ashley’s grandma lives nextdoor to her, and before getting an Action Trackchair, Ashley had to take the road to get there. Now, she takes a safer route: the lawn that connects the homes. She can ride through tall grass, through water and mud, and even over snowbanks.
“It’s like a mini bulldozer,” Susan Pfalzer said, Ashley’s mom. “It goes through everything. It really does.”
“I love the chair,” Ashley said.
WNYers donated to Ashley’s GoFundMe page, and then donated services, time and money to a fundraiser event in Darien at the end of March. Mikey Dee’s Cafe and Catering donated all the food to the fundraiser, and K&C Entertainment donated DJ services. Even Russell Salvatore donated to the cause, and helped with some organizing.
“Western New York has a heart of gold,” Susan said.
In all, Ashley raised $17,440 for her dream wheelchair. That money paid for the chair, and some upgrades, including a light on the front of her chair, an umbrella and cup holder, and a comfort seat. Her mom said it’s tough to put in words what this all means to her and her family.
“It’s very emotional for me,” Susan said. “I mean, most teenagers when they get 18, they’re getting a car. With Ashley, she got this awesome machine that takes her everywhere. Words cannot express how deeply I am thankful the way this has turned out for Ashley.”
“Thank you!” Ashley said.