Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 25 - Dear Nicholas Sparks

Dear Mr. Sparks,

I'd like to tell you about our Vice-President, Ashley Barry.

I met Ashley at our 2008 CDH Conference, which was held here in Raleigh.  Ashley was very pregnant with her second daughter, Leah, and attended with her husband, Chris, and their cherub, Jessica, who was about 2 or 3 at the time.

Ashley was shy, not ready to talk about her family's CDH journey and so Chris did most of the talking.  I didn't get a chance to know her very well until she joined us as a volunteer and quickly an addition to our Executive Board of Directors.

7 years after we met, I cannot find the right words to say how much she has bought to our charity and to me, personally.   We've undergone extraordinary growth, the division of one board into 3 boards, good days, bad days, conferences, trials and more growth.   A scientist by trade, Ashley is the level-headed one to my big dreams and quick-tempered reign as president.  Often, she's good cop to my bad cop when needed.  She's been my roommate at conferences.  She's let me bring reporters into her home at the last minute to raise awareness.  She puts up with me.  She keeps me guided, keeps the charity on track, quietly works behind the scenes supportive all of our boards and our volunteers and never likes to be recognized.

Which is precisely why she needs to be recognized.  Through divorce and deaths, through dating craziness and personal turmoil... she's been a friend above all.  She is one of most giving people that I know and you will never hear her speak ill of anyone.  I love her like a sister and would not have survived all the changes over the past decade professionally and personally without her. 

These are photos taken in Jamaica during an excursion on the CDH Conference Cruise.  We climbed a waterfall together.  If that doesn't aptly describe our friendship, I don't know what does.



Except maybe this photo.  That the photographer set us up to do without knowing us.  This is definitely us:

Ashley is one of a kind.   We are all so very lucky to have her.  She is an incredible woman and an amazing CDH mom.


Dawn M. Torrence Williamson
President of CHERUBS

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