My name is Ashton Stubblefield. I was diagnosed with AS when I was 12, but I had my first flare up when I was 3. I have gone through many hardships, as any person suffering with this disease knows, but those struggles have shaped me into the strong person I am today. It was not always so easy, when I was first diagnosed the news was devastating. I think my lowest point was coming home from softball crying because my joints hurt so bad. The support of my family helped a lot, although I did not tell any of my friends because I did not want them to pity me or feel bad for me. I have now finally reached the point where I feel comfortable telling people that I have AS. I think that is because I have decided to accept it as part of me, rather than just a terrible disease.
I am currently a sophomore at The University of Toledo. Having AS as a child made me realize what a lack there is of pediatric Rheumatologist, that is why I have decided to pursue a to become a physicians assistant in the department of pediatric rheumatology. I was blessed with an amazing rheumatolagist by the name of Peter Reuman who devoted an outstanding amount of dedication to my disease. Without him I would not be at the point I am at today. My dream is to one day encourage a young child with AS as much as he encouraged me.
“My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose – somehow we win out.” -Ronald Reagan
Sincerely, Ashton Stubblefield
Ohio United States of America