Ashton had been progressively experiencing nausea, vomiting , a gate in his walk, headaches at home and school. Finally his eye started turning slightly inwards and we got Ashton that 2nd opinion we needed to confirm our worries. We discovered he had multiple brain tumors. We were immediately rushed to Vanderbilt’s children’s hospital on November 16, 2017 due to hydrosyphilious. He had a tumor the size of an egg blocking spinal fluid coming and going from the brain. He underwent a 6hr brain surgery and it was discovered he had a different tumor then expected. He had Medulloblastoma. About 250-500 children are diagnosed with Medulloblastoma a year. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Brain Cancer, Medulloblastoma Category 4. Medulloblastoma is broken up into 4 Categories due to the molecularly makeup. Category 1 and 2 have great response and 80% survival rate. Category 3 has 35-55% survival rate and Category 4 has 45-65% survival rate. After surgery, we were crushed to find out Ashton was diagnosed with Posterior Fossa Syndrome, which we never were warned would happen. It happens to 23% of children after the Medulloblastoma tumor is cut into, doctors have little research as to why this happens. He was completely different, thrashing, crying and screaming nonstop. It is temporary brain damage lasting anywhere from 4weeks-2years with a possible full recovery. It leaves kids mute, paralyzed and unable to swallow but can think completely normal. Essentially trapped in their body. Ashton receives Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. He has come a long way from that first point, but no where near our old Ashton. A few weeks after his brain surgery, Neurosurgeons, believed that his Cranial Spinal Fluid was not better and Ashton would need a Shunt to control the spinal fluid (hydrosyphilious). So it was another surgery to endure and heal from before Chemo. Ashton’s treatment includes 6 cycles of high dose Chemotherapy to complete, cycle’s 4-6 will require stem cell rescue’s or transplants. After we successfully collected the stem cells, we started the cycles 4-6 and had the 3 stem cell transplants. After 8 Months of living in Vanderbilt during Chemotherapy our hope was that Ashton would receive Clean Scans but he didn’t, and we had residual tumor we had to battle. We had to take Ashton out of Nashville to recieve Proton Radiation as there are no Pediatric Proton Radiation abilities in Middle Tennessee. We had a choice, to either fly out of state for this or to travel to Knoxville where the Vanderbilt Radiologist can work remotely with. We chose to stay in Tennessee so that we had the option of returning home weekends. We stayed at friends of friends of friends guest house, otherwise we would’ve had to spend a lot of money on a hotel for our 6week treatment. For his Posterior Fossa Syndrome when all the cancer treatments are done, we will most likely travel again out of state, to Atlanta for inpatient rehabilitation since there are no facilities in our state. Or we may do a nearby outpatient program in our city to stay nearby, we are tired of splitting our family up. We are so hopeful Ashton can resume his magnet school family and normal activities by August 2019 when all treatments are done, his 100 days of Transplant is done, and when he might be more mentally healed/ready from all of the harsh treatments his brain and body have endured. He will most likely need some sort of special education/tutoring to help with the effects of radiation. It will cause slower processing speeds, memory loss and most likely a lot of frustration for our perfectionist. We have a new normal we are adapting too and our next steps are coming together, we just need some help along the way. Ashton is our first born and first love.



On Sunday, November 25 we will be hosting a benefit for Ashton at the studio on our square in Murfreesboro.

We will have three different stations set up for 10 minute portraits.
Whether you’re in need of a new lifestyle headshot, updated portraits of your kiddos, or a holiday family photo - you’re all set.

$150 minimum donation is required. You will receive a digital download with 4 images.


Select a time below. Email me at: BRASSPENNY@GMAIL.COM with the time you want. I will confirm if it’s open, and you can send your deposit to Ashton’s PayPal linked below. You MUST send a screenshot/ receipt to my email following your donation in order to reserve your time. No holds. You are welcome to donate more than $150 via the link or via check the day of.