At just 17 years of age, Ashton Flasco had a one in one million chance of developing terminal breast cancer. And yet, here she is. Her only hope is that the outcome of her story will be a one-in-a-million situation too.
The teenage tennis player with the infectious laugh first discovered the lump in her breast last August. By December, just four months later, the tumor had doubled in size. She had it removed in January, but the tumor in her breast was just the beginning of her difficult cancer journey.
“You kind of know it’s going to be a bad day when you sit down with the surgeon, and she’s going to give you the results, and as soon as she comes in and sits down, she starts crying,” says Ashton’s dad, Dan Flasco.
Ashton’s parents had to break the news to her that her cancer had metastasized to her spine and hip and could not be cured. They told her about the terrible diagnosis one morning before school, expecting her to be heartbroken, which she undoubtedly was. Her reaction, however, mirrors her unique perspective about life. Her answer was, jokingly, “So I don’t have to go to school?”
It’s hard for many people in Ashton’s life to even believe she has cancer, partially because of her age and partially because of her incessant positivity. With the shadow of her terminal cancer by her side, Ashton continues to live her life to the fullest. Through it all, she has only cried about her condition one time.
“I’ve been telling myself, ‘This is happening for some reason. You may never know why this is happening, but it is.'”
Luckily, Ashton’s body is responding well to treatment so far. Check out the video below to learn more about Ashton’s one-in-a-million life and her unique perspective. You’ll also see the awesome and supportive gesture Ashton’s dad surprised her with on camera.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?