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Image Description: Photo shows Ashley and two other people, all of whom are laughing together. Two of them are holding the third person in their arms. They are standing in front of a fountain.

Needing a place to turn, Krysten wrote to Together Rising: “This is a big ask. I am asking you to see Ashley as I see her…She is remarkable.”

Ashley was first diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis several years ago. She has since become an advocate not only for herself but also for others who experience chronic pain.

In February, her symptoms became debilitating—forcing her to take a leave of absence from her job. She started a new treatment shortly after but her symptoms only worsened. For months, her doctors tried treatment after treatment, including intravenous infusions. In the words of her friend and nominator, Krysten, “You name it, [Ashley] has tried it. Her disease has stumped her medical team.”

Still without relief, Ashley extended her leave. However, because her short-term disability ended in May, the last five months in recovery have been unpaid.

While she was working as a claims adjuster for an auto insurance company before her leave, Ashley has long dreamed of working in data science. Despite all that she has gone through, she has kept up with her coursework for her Masters of Science in Data Analysis.

Steadfast in her support of Ashley, Krysten knew what she needed most to get through this difficult time: financial assistance for basic living expenses including rent. Krysten also knew that Ashley would benefit greatly from adaptive devices such as mobility aids but that she hadn’t purchased them because she couldn’t afford to.

One of Together Rising’s greatest honors is to hold space that helps us see each other and feel seen by each other.

Together, we told Ashley, “We see you. We are here for you.” Through Together Rising, Ashley received a direct grant to cover three months of living expenses and the adaptive devices. Together, we not only helped Ashley with critical needs, but we also helped her to feel seen by all of us in this community.

In her thank you note to us, Ashley wrote, “Thank you will never be enough but please know I am so appreciative and forever grateful.”

Thank you to TEAM LOVE, our recurring donors, whose steady support enables us to hold space for and fulfill the needs of families and individuals like Ashley.