As a Chula Vista family tries to make the last days of their 4-year-old's life memorable, they're also reminding their community to never take life for granted.
Back in March, Ashley Moreno's teacher called her parents Linda Martinez and Jesus Moreno to tell them about changes she noticed in the usually happy, energetic, healthy girl. She said Ashley couldn’t keep her balance and would often stumble and fall when she walked.
A trip to the doctor's office quickly became a race to save Ashley's life.
“To go to a doctor’s appointment and from there to be sent to the emergency room and then to find out she has a tumor in her head and then they send her to L.A, that’s a lot for a family to bear,” Ashley’s grandmother Dulce Gibbons said in March.
Ashley's entire family was blindsided by the diagnosis. A CT scan revealed a tumor on Ashley’s brain stem.
"She thought she was going to go in and the doctor was going to say it was the flu or something,” Ashley’s aunt Vivianna Martinez told NBC 7 in March. “She never expected to hear her daughter has a brain tumor."
Ashley was transferred to a Los Angeles hospital for treatment by a team specializing in her type of tumor. Despite unrelenting prayer, Ashley's prognosis worsened, and now her family is preparing to say goodbye.
"At the end of the day, whether it be today, tonight or tomorrow or the day after, she's not gonna be here anymore with us," Ashley's father said.
Ashley's parents have spent the last four months going above and beyond trying to make their sweet daughter's dreams come true. With the help of the Chula Vista Fire Department, Ashley got to be a princess for a day.
While they spend every day in the hospital at Ashley's bedside, her parents are reminding anyone who sees their story that live is precious.
"Don't wait 'til tomorrow to tell your kids you love them. Don't wait untiltomorrow to give them a hug or tell them how proud you are of them. Tomorrow you may not have that chance."
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help support Ashley's family. Both of her parents have not been able to work since her diagnosis.
The family has also organized a fundraiser to help the family cover Ashley's funeral arrangements.
The event is on Friday, July 12, from 5 to 11 p.m. at the Don Diego VFW Post 7420 at 2100 Logan Avenue in San Diego. There will be food, raffles, and plenty of dancing.
The family is also accepting donations through the Venmo app (Vivianna Martinez @mama_vivi).