On July 28, more than 300 people attended the Support Ashley’s Fight Against ALS along with the Ice Bucket Challenge Take 2 and raised nearly $30,000 to help Vickers with stem cell and other therapies, medications and a handicap-accessible van.
The fundraiser was held at the Estate at Cherokee Dock, the former home of country music star Reba McEntire.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The disease is a terminal illness with an estimated life span of two to five years.
Vickers, who was diagnosed four years ago at 32, worked as a pediatric nurse and event planner and currently spends time managing her treatments and with her family.
Nashville musicians Jill Brooks, 12 South Band and the band J4 performed live music, other attractions included food trucks, silent auction and a children’s zone.
The internet craze Ice Bucket Challenge also took place at the fundraiser, with supporters doused with buckets of icy water.
Vickers said she watched all of the participants get soaked for the cause with enjoyment but spoke specifically about her neighbor, Daniel Gilbert, with Primerica multi-level marketing company that sells insurance and financial services, who raised more than $5,000.
“He sees first hand every day how difficult my disease is. He and his entire family are a tremendous help to me,” Vickers said.
“It was extremely overwhelming to see how kind and generous people are. We are so blessed to live in such an amazing community. To know so many people are fighting right beside us is so heartwarming.”
Vickers said what she wants people to really understand about her diagnosis is that it had a major impact on the mother that she wants to be. She said the challenges are on everyone in her family – not just herself.
“To have to explain this illness to my four young kids is truly heartbreaking. I have tried over the past four years to prepare them and surround my family with love and positivity. I may not be able to run and kick a ball with my 4 year old or dance and sing with my daughters, but I can teach them kindness, responsibility, compassion and to always treat others how you want to be treated,” Vickers said. “I believe all people with terminal illness should have hope. Let others help, remain positive and enjoy every moment, as tomorrow is never promised to anyone.”