Amazing grace

Rare disease doesn’t keep senior from fulfilling her dreams


Sydney Steed

Battling a rare disease, senior Ashley Ritchie shows her tougher side.

Story by Ben Gladney, staff writer

Despite being born with a rare disease, senior Ashley Ritchie is just a regular teenager.

“I like to hang out with my friends,” Ritchie said. “I love watching football with a passion.”

Ritchie was born with a rare health condition, osteofibrous dysplasia, which affects her tibia and fibula, causing a crippling debilitation in her legs. This condition took the life of her brother when he was 2 months old. Additionally, Ritchie has had three open-heart surgeries.

“I’ve been through a lot. Since birth, I’ve had a lot of health issues,” Ritchie said. “ But I’m blessed to be alive.”
Ritchie has impacted others’ lives.

“Ashley is such a sweet and positive person,” senior LaMonica Morgan said. “I never knew that she had so much going on; honestly, you could never tell that’s how much of a great and positive person she is.”

Ritchie attends Hampton Church of Christ and is involved in youth activities, and she’s an avid football fan.

“Never in my life have I ever seen a girl yell on every down during the game,” senior Avery Whitehurst said. “Her actions define her, and she shows how strong she is day by day.”

Having this disease since birth, Ritchie has learned to rely on her faith.

“My parents thought I would be held back activity wise, but that didn’t happen,” Richie said. “However, there are some things that I can’t do. But I’ve made it this far, and I know that it was nothing but God.”

After graduation, Ritchie plans to attend Texarkana College to study a medical field.

“I’ve come so far; I can’t give up now,”  Ritchie said. “I’m determined to graduate and become successful in my future endeavors.”

Ritchie has been through so much, but she always has a positive outlook on things.

“I’m just living life one day at a time,” Ritchie said.“ I’m grateful to God, my family and all the people around me. They’re the ones that keep me going.”