Ashlie Thornbury




My Mother, My Brother and Me.

My mother, Vicky, was first diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35. I was 13 years old and my little brother was 3.

The three of us banded together and got through it somehow. Surgery, chemo, radiation. Then a divorce and huge move from Florida back to Pennsylvania where my mother grew up.

Then ten years later, when she turned 45, we learned her breast cancer had returned. Same breast. I was 23 and my brother was 13.

Once again, we banded together. Mastectomy, chemo, hair loss. I’ll never forget shaving my mother’s head in our backyard. Her hair falling to the ground, floating on top of the vibrant autumn leaves. This diagnosis coincided with her little sister, Amy’s diagnosis of a glioblastoma brain tumor. Our family was in shock. Thanksgiving that year was takeout from Boston Market. We went with shopping at Christmas. By the following spring, our hope started to come alive, just like the flowers and the trees in the same backyard I shaved her head in the precious fall.

Sadly, my aunt Amy passed away a couple of years later at age 39 from brain cancer. But, my mother survived.

Today, my mom is 63. I’m 41 and my brother is 31. I have two little girls which are my mothers pride and joy and my brother just got engaged. A few years ago, my brother and I took my mother to Italy. Just the three of us. It was nice to band together again but this time to explore, learn, have fun and perhaps most importantly, eat! We made many beautiful memories on that trip and still try to celebrate life and Amy’s memory each day. These new memories can never replace the sad ones, but they definitely float on top.