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Ashley is an ambitious and talented 14-year-old. She is the MVP of her baseball team, a pianist, one belt away from obtaining her black belt in Karate, and an extraordinary artist. Ashley was diagnosed with Takayasu arteritis, a disorder that causes blood vessel inflammation, a year before her wish was granted. Though her condition has changed her life, it hasn’t stopped her from chasing her big dreams.
When we asked Ashley about her one true wish, she knew she wanted a unique experience that she would never forget: she wanted to meet her favourite Toronto Blue Jays baseball player, Kevin Pillar.
Ashley’s wish would soon come true, but to reveal the big news about what was in store, her family, friends and Make-A-Wish® volunteer wish grantors threw her a surprise party. It was a wonderful start to Ashley’s wish experience and her loved ones were thrilled to join in the celebration.
A few days before she was to meet Kevin Pillar, Ashely and her family were picked up at their home in Guelph, Ontario by a limousine and taken to the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel. There, they enjoyed a suite overlooking the Rogers Centre. As they arrived at their room, the Blue Jays were winning their game and Ashley was excited for what was to come.
The following day, after some sightseeing around Toronto, Ashley had her chance to meet Kevin Pillar and played catch with him before his game. Kevin was happy to spend time with Ashley and her family and he left her with the ultimate souvenir - a signed baseball bat that said, “I am now your biggest fan!” Kevin invited Ashley to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and we’re pretty sure Ashley was the team’s good luck charm that night because they won their game. It was a perfect ending to the day Ashley had been looking forward to since she first made her wish.
When asked what her favourite part of the wish experience was, Ashley said, “I liked playing catch with Kevin Pillar. He told me to go stand in ‘his spot’ in centre field and he threw me pop flies.” This was a dream come true for this Blue Jays superfan.
Thank you to Kevin Pillar and the Toronto Blue Jays for your generosity in hosting Ashley at the Rogers Centre for the day of her wish. Thanks also to the Sony Canada Charitable Foundation for donating a Sony Cyber-shot digital camera to Ashley so she could capture special moments during her experience.