Ashley Lebeau is a talented and inspiring young lady. She has William’s Syndrome, but she has never let that stop her from achieving her dreams. She is a Special Olympian, a high school graduate and a past volunteer at Day Kimball Hospital, an experience that Ashley’s mother Karen (who started the occupational therapy inpatient care program at the Hospital) says she absolutely loved. But in just a few days even that experience will be beat when Ashley fulfills her lifelong dream of singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park on Tuesday, June 21 as the Red Sox celebrate Special Olympics night.
At 3:11, see the touching moment when Ashley found out her dream would come true, then scroll down to read her story…
UPDATE: See Ashley's performance:
In Karen’s own words, the wonderful story of how this dream came true for her daughter:
“Laurie-Jean Hannon , Vice President of Sports and Competition with Special Olympics of CT emailed me. She stated that Robert “Beau” Doherty, President of Special Olympics Connecticut was looking to have someone sing the National Anthem at a baseball game in Massachussets. When I asked, ‘What baseball game…what team?’ she told me it was for the Boston Red Sox. I freaked out because singing the National Anthem for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park has been Ashley’s dream for many years. Laurie-Jean told me that there were others sending in audio also and that she was not the only athlete to be considered. I had a lot of audio of Ashley sing the National Anthem, but I wanted this one to be special…the winner!
I had to come up with a reason for ask Ashley to sing the National Anthem. I couldn’t tell her the truth because if she wasn’t selected, she would be devastated. The 2016 Summer Games were going on the weekend of June 10th, so I told her that Laurie-Jean wanted to build the morale and get everyone excited. I told Ashley that Laurie-Jean wanted athletes that she knew that sang the National Anthem to put on their favorite team shirt, sing the National Anthem, and whatever team had the most jerseys worn would win a prize. If Ashley didn’t win, I was going to send her a gift card in the mail from her favorite ice cream place, Sweet Cheeks, and tell her the Red Sox won and the gift card was a “Thank You” from SOCT for participating in the contest.
Ashley loves the Red Sox so doing the contest was easy. Ashley put on the Red Sox jersey, earrings and sang for me. I submitted the video and found out about a week later that she was selected!
Once I received the email from Laurie-Jean stating the good news, my eyes filled with tears and I couldn’t stop jumping for joy. I wanted to make it special when Randy and I told Ashley, so after much thought, I decided to put together a slide show and we invited some of the people that helped Ashley achieve her dream.
When Ashley found out her dream came true, she too was filled with tears of joy and cried for several minutes. Ashley woke up the next morning and said, “15 more days mom, 15 more days!” as she was gleaming with her bright smile. Later that afternoon, she texted me twice saying she feels like she was going to cry again. Talk about making dreams come true… Special Olympics has a way of doing that.
Randy, Michael and I are so incredibly proud of Ashley. We thank SOCT for all they do. We are proud to be a part of the SOCT family.
Ashley LOVED working at DKH and LOVED Janet (Janet Johnson, DKH Coordinator of Pastoral Care and Volunteer Services). She currently attends Project Hope, a division of the Center of Hope in Southbridge, MA. She still talks about her experience at DKH and looks forward to being able to volunteer again in the future."
We hope that Ashley does join the ranks of our wonderful volunteers at Day Kimball Hospital again in the future. When she does, we’ll roll out the red carpet for her – not only is she now a “star,” but she has always been a true DKH Champion of the Human Spirit.
Congratulations Ashley, from all of us at DKH!