In Raleigh, North Carolina, there is an 11-year-old girl who has been through more than most adults and is making a mark on this world in an amazing way. Ashley Burnette, two days before she supposed to start second grade, was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma (a pediatric cancer of the sympathetic nervous system) and later developed evidence of a second cancer, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, back in August 2010.
Over a four year period, she endured many treatments to battle the two cancers such as chemotherapy, radiation, a stem cell transplant and multiple surgeries. Her positive attitude and vibrant personality inspired many throughout her journey and she decided she wanted to do something to help bring awareness to pediatric cancer in honor of her friends who were also battling this disease. She first started making an impact by agreeing to be a Patient Ambassador for her local children’s hospital in Chapel Hill, NC. During that time, she spoke in front of thousands at various events by sharing the story of her journey and helping to raise money for the NC Children’s Hospital.
In August 2012, she finally received the amazing news that she was Cancer Free! In February 2014, she was chosen to be the 2014-2015 National Youth Ambassador for Hyundai Hope On Wheels, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding cures for pediatric cancer. Since 1998, Hyundai Hope On Wheels has funded over $87 million in pediatric cancer research in the United States. Over her 2-year term, Ashley travels to children’s hospitals all across the United States to share her story of hope with other cancer kids and their families in need of support and solidarity.
In September 2014, she was chosen as the only childhood cancer survivor asked to speak alongside NY congressmen in the legendary Times Square in New York City as it went “Gold” (the color symbolizing pediatric cancer) to raise awareness for Pediatric Cancer and emphasize the need for more federal funding for research. Because of her efforts, she was also honored by ABC World News Tonight with David Muir as their “Person of the Week” on September 5th. Her dream is to continue inspiring others that they too can beat pediatric cancer with a smile on their face and she hopes to be a pediatric oncology nurse when she grows up. Her parents are Hunter and Nicole Burnette and her older sister Olivia Burnette is 14-years-old. You can follow Ashley’s journey on www.ashleyburnette.com.