CONWAY, Ark. – Any girl knows that for every big occasion, you need the perfect outfit. For one young girl with terminal cancer, this sadly meant finding the perfect dress for a completely different occasion, and a local store in Conway handled everything.
A 15-year-old girl named Ashley from Greenbrier was diagnosed with cancer just last year. A few months ago, she was window shopping and walked inside a prom dress store just to look around.
She quickly fell in love with a particular dress, though, and it later became the dress she would be laid to rest in.
“We pulled four to five dresses and she put on this one, and I could tell it was something really special,” Macy Landry, who works at Royal We in Conway said.
Ashley originally hoped the dress could be her prom dress. She knew, however, that she may not make it until prom, and in that case, this would be the dress she would be buried in.
“The moment she saw herself in the dress I feel like was emotional, because to her she realized that’s what the dress was for,” Hannah Wright, Owner of Royal We said.
Ashley’s bonus-mom, Amanda Pearson said it was Landry and Wright who shifted Ashley’s mindset to excitement, as she put on a gown that she finally felt beautiful in.
As the two at Royal We saw how excited Ashley was to wear the dress, their next move was a no-brainer. They quickly decided to gift Ashley the dress, free of charge.
Wright said while Ashley’s story is getting recognition, they would have treated anyone with this kind of kindness and consideration.
“Every girl that walks in needs to feel better when she leaves than when she walked in,” she said. “You don’t know what battles people are facing. You have no idea their life is like outside of this store.”
Ashley died Saturday, and she was buried in her dress Wednesday night, less than 24 hours before these interviews.
She is now in heaven with her biological mom, who also died of cancer when Ashley was just five years old.
Pearson said Ashley relied on her faith during her short battle with cancer.
When times got hard, she hit her knees and prayed. That is what gives her family ultimate comfort now, knowing she is now with her Lord and Savior.
“She’s wearing it in the best place she could ever wear it…in the arms of Jesus,” Pearson said.
Pearson brought a framed piece of Ashley’s dress to Wright and Landry, along with a framed photo of her in the dress.
Additionally, the two are left with a letter Ashley wrote to them before she died, thanking them for not only the dress, but how they made her feel in it.
“It’s heartbreaking, but also for me it feels like we did something right that day, because she obviously felt beautiful enough in it that that’s what she wanted to spend eternity in,” Wright said.
It is important to note, Wright and Landry were originally hesitant to do the interview. They agreed to in hopes of sharing Ashley’s inspiring story, and to remind people the importance of spreading kindness and making others feel beautiful, because you never know what someone is going through.