SARASOTA - At the age of 16, a Suncoast teenager was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Now Ashley Kruger is battling her second cancer and will need help from the community to fight it.
When you look into the eyes of this 17-year-old high school senior you see hope, strength, and courage. That is because behind her happy smile is a girl fighting for her life against cancer a second time.
"Her first cancer was diagnosed on her 16 birthday, Ewing Sarcoma, which is a very aggressive and rare bone cancer," said her mother, Pat Myers.
But just last month, Ashley and her parents received heartbreaking news: she was sick again.
"She was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoma. This has never happened before in the world for T-Cell Lymphoma to come on so quickly or to follow Ewings just six months out of treatment," Myers said.
It's something that is taking Ashley away from her senior year at school to fight the cancer and leaving her parents desperately trying to figure out how to find the money to help her recover.
"We are already in debt, for the second time around," said Myers. "It's about $40,000 a year you've got to come up with well above and beyond your budget, that's just for travel, meds, things the insurance company doesn't cover, all kinds of stuff."
That is why Ashley's school, Sarasota Military Academy, is rallying the community to be that extra crutch that will be crucial for her turnaround.
"We have a saying here at the academy that we take care of our own, and Ashley is one of our own and we will continue to stand strong for Ashley as she continues to show us what true courage is all about," said Headmaster Daniel Kennedy.
The students are wearing shirts to support her and putting on a yard sale at school this Saturday, an idea that was dreamed up by Tony Colton and his mother CJ. Tony is only 13 years old and went through treatment with Ashley.
Staff members said they hope it will be the start of something bigger for a young woman with so much more life to live.
"I had one female cadet come in the day before yesterday and just donate it out of her own pocket, $40," Kennedy said. "And then another girl about a week ago worked various things one weekend and raised $221 so that will all go to the family, they are at the point where they can't even barely afford the gas to go up for the chemo."
It's something reminding each and every one of us that life can change, in a heartbeat, and sometimes we need to lean on each other through the toughest times.
"You find yourself having never asked for a dime in your life and suddenly your child is sick and you are begging, and you are asking, and your pride, well that's gone out the window. because the only thing that matters is providing for your child," Myers said.
Ashley's parents are hoping to raise $30,000 in two weeks. If you would like to donate to the Yard Sale or make a monetary donation, you can go online to her website: