A local youth was given an amazing opportunity last week when The Dream Factory, an organization that gives children with life-threatening or chronic illnesses and disorders a granted wish. The organization contacted Ashton Hughes, a 5th grader at the EC 5/6 Center, and his family after the group saw some local news coverage about Ashton's situation. The boy suffers from a rare form of Juvenile Arthritis, and has recently struggled with complications from injections that are his only treatment option at this time. Being a huge Alabama football fan, Ashton requested to meet Head Coach Nick Saban of the University of Alabama Football team, and on Friday, November 14, his wish came true.
Ashton and his family attended the "Nick at Noon Luncheon" as VIP guests, where Ashton was able to ask Coach Saban a question in front of nearly 300 people. After lunch, Ashton was able to meet Coach Saban, shake his hand, and smile while the coach took photos with him, autographed his jersey, as well as a hat belonging to his younger sister, Abbey.
On Saturday, Ashton and his family were given sideline passes for the Alabama vs #1 ranked Mississippi State game where Alabama celebrated the win. Ashton was also able to sit in the Letterman's section at the stadium (former player, VIP-type seating) on the lower level section. There he met two former Alabama football players who played for the legendary Bear Bryant.
His family said that the trip was an adventure of a lifetime and was definitely a dream come true for Ashton, who said it was the best experience of his life. "This dream couldn't have come at a better time," said his mother, Leticia. "He is a fighter, and this trip hopefully showed him that dreams do come true and that maybe his dream for a cure can come true, too." Ashton is 10 years old and is the son of Ricky and Leticia Hughes of Edmonson County.
Edmonson Voice Staff
Photos submitted by the Hughes Family