Friends of paralyzed Albion teen trying to raise funds for van

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 October 2015 at 12:00 am

Ashley Wiegele is pictured in her senior photo.

ALBION – Ashley Wiegele was only a few days away from her high school graduation when she was in a boating accident on Lake Ontario on June 20, 2014.

Ashley, then 17, wasn’t able to participate in commencement. She was paralyzed from the chest down.

She is home in an apartment with her mother, and receives physical and occupational therapy. Ashley is hopeful she will one day walk again.

For right now, she is mostly limited to her apartment, which isn’t handicapped accessible.

Her friends and the staff at Albion Central School want to give her more freedom to be out in the community. They have organized a benefit on Oct. 24, with a goal to raise at least $10,000 to buy a van with a wheelchair for Ashley.

“Rock ‘n Roll for Ashley” will feature live music from several local musical acts from 3 to 10 p.m. at the Albion Elk’s Lodge, 428 West State St. in Albion. The event also includes a giant basket raffle, pumpkin decorating for kids and adults, and side raffles.

“Albion and Orleans County are great. When somebody is in need they’re there to help,” said Scott Green, a guidance counselor at the high school and also the event chairman.

Ashley’s injuries have required her mom to become her full-time caregiver, resulting in a loss of income for the family.

Ashley has been mostly confined to a bed at her apartment. She only leaves the house for doctor’s appointments, which requires calling for a special van to transport her, Green said.

“This is about her mobility, to allow her to get up and go,” Green said. “Having a van will give Ashley some independence, allowing her to do things that other people take for granted, like grocery shop with her mom, or visit the library, or catch a movie with friends.”

Solo performers at the Oct. 24 “Rock ‘n Roll for Ashley” include Gregg Albertson and Shannon Vanderlaan, who will open the event. They will be followed by several local bands including Delano Steele and Atomic Swamis.

Food will be available for purchase at the event. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door or by calling (585) 944-0678.

There is also an on-line fund-raising page for Ashley at CrowdRise. Click here for more information.