Keep Ashley rolling

By: Melissa Randall

E–mail: mrandall@abc6.com

Twitter: @MRandallABC6

JOHNSTON, RI (WLNE)— Being bound to a wheel chair has never slowed Ashley Cabrita down. The 24–year–old, who has spinal muscular atrophy, is always on the go.

"Ashley and I, we get into the community. We like to go to coffee shops, restaurants. She’s a pretty familiar face," said Christopher Cabrita, Ashley’s older brother.

But these days getting there has become a challenge. The Johnston woman’s handicap van is more than 10 years old and has begun falling apart.

"It all started in September when the ramp of my van again broke. And it’s a constant thing that happens so I was like I need to do something," explained Cabrita.

"She didn’t even have to ask. There was no pause. No question," said Jennifer Ricci, Cabrita’s friend, in response to what was going on. "O said what are we going to do? How are we going to get you a new van?"

Even used, the vehicles that could accommodate Ashley’s needs cost around $40,000. Her friends and family decided to help and are now organizing an upcoming fundraiser called "Keep Ashley Rolling". They all agree that this vehicle needs to be an upgrade, specifically in one way. They want to get Ashley a van that will allow her to get behind the wheel.

"I’m always going to need help in my life. I’m never going to be independent, but [driving] will make me one step closer to being independent," said Cabrita.

Over the years Cabrita has been an inspiration to those touched by neuro muscular diseases. She served as a good will ambassador for the MDA during Jerry Lewis telethons, which aired on ABC6. She’s also helped raise funds through the MDA Shamrocks campaign.

This time the person she hopes her dream inspires most is her little sister, who is also living with the genetic disorder.

"Right now she’s 13 years old and she isn’t as progressed as I was at that age. She’s doing great, but I just want to show her that no matter what life throws at you, we’re going to be okay.

The comedy fundraiser will be Thursday, November 2nd at the Cranston Portugese Club located at 20 2nd Avenue. Doors open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7:30. Tickets are $20 each.

You can also contribute by making a donation to Ashley’s GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/help–buy–a–new–used–handicap–van

(C) WLNE–TV 2017