r GENOLA — In a snowboarding accident on March 1, Genola resident Ashlyn Ewell suffered a traumatic brain injury. After receiving first-aid from the ski patrol, she was life-flighted to Utah Valley University to receive emergency surgery to relieve pressure on her brain. She would stay in the ICU for 23 more days, celebrating her 19th birthday there.
Since the accident, the community has come together to support Ashlyn and her family in amazing ways. Her father, Travis Ewell said, “It’s been really unbelievable. We’ve been blown away.”
A few days after Ashlyn’s accident, family friends got together and decided they wanted to do something. They put together a fundraising event called Prayers for Ashlyn. “It just exploded,” said Ewell. “It was amazing what they were able to do.”
On March 17, community members gathered at Genola Park for the fundraiser to help pay for Ashlyn’s medical bills and her continued recovery. An estimated crowd of over 500 people participated in a variety of events including a dinner, live auction, bonfire and pony rides, leprechaun costume contest and more.
Though not in attendance, Ashlyn’s family was overwhelmed by the community support. “The amount of things donated was absolutely incredible,” said Ewell. “We were amazed by the businesses that stepped forward and strangers that we don’t even know that donated things. They sold everything. We are very humbled by the whole thing.”
On March 23, Ashlyn was moved out of the ICU to an acute care recovery facility, the Utah Valley Specialty Hospital. There she began the long road to recovery with occupational therapy, speech therapy. After some time there, she will be moved to an inpatient rehab center until she is physically able and ready to go home.
Ashlyn was preparing to serve an LDS church mission in Dallas, Texas, and was supposed to enter the missionary training center on April 11. For now, those plans are on hold.
Ewell said the doctors have told them, “You’ve got to remember this is a marathon and not a sprint.”
“She’s basically having to relearn everything.” Ewell said, “We’ve seen some cool miracles and signs so far and hope she will be able to recover.”
The community is continuing to provide support to the Ewell family. On May 5, Ashlyn and her family will receive a generous portion of all proceeds made at the Daley Freez in Payson. If you go, make sure to mention that you are there for Ashlyn for your purchase to count towards the benefit.
Ewell wants the community to know how grateful the family is for the support they’ve received and how it will help them. “It will be huge. They really don’t realize how much they did for us,” he said.
“Ashlyn was always somebody who wanted to make a difference in this world. That’s why she was serving a mission. That’s why she was working at an assisted living center. She always wanted to make a difference and I can’t tell you the difference our community has made in helping Ashlyn,” said Ewell.
To find out more about events to help Ashlyn, visit the Prayers for Ashlyn Ewell Facebook page.