For Wesley Chapel’s Ashley Boothe, 26, the bad news came shortly after the good news.
Just a month and a half after being told she was pregnant with her first child, Boothe found out she had breast cancer.
After the initial shock wore off, Boothe said she decided to do all she could to not only fight the disease attacking her, but to fight for her son as well.
“I was ready to take it on,” said Boothe, who has already undergone four chemotherapy treatments and a mastectomy during the pregnancy. “I want to be there for my little boy – that’s all that matters. He’s my No. 1 priority.”
Boothe, and her husband, Scott, named their son Scott Gregory Boothe III.
Like most expectant moms, Boothe is busy getting the nursery ready, but her timeline changed when doctors pushed her delivery date to October so she could receive a more aggressive round of chemotherapy treatments that are not safe for the baby. Her original due date was Nov. 21. Doctors also intend to do a second mastectomy as well as a hysterectomy after more radiation and chemotherapy at Moffitt Cancer Center.
Friends and family members are planning a “Kicking Cancer for Ashley” fundraiser on Oct. 12 at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, No. 29, 21705 YMCA Camp Road. The lodge is located at the corner of Land O’Lakes Boulevard and Bell Lake Road in Land O’Lakes.
The fundraiser is taking place one week after she is scheduled to be induced into labor at Florida Hospital Tampa.
Boothe said she hopes more women will pay attention to the information provided during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month activities.
“Always do your breast exam because you never know,” said Boothe, who discovered the lumps while applying lotion to prevent stretch marks during her pregnancy. “I was one of those people who never did them. Life is busy and it takes over.”
Boothe said her mother, Donna Mullens of Lutz, also battled breast cancer. Her mom has been cancer free for five years.
“Cancer is common in my family, but I didn’t expect it this soon or while I was pregnant,” she said.
Allison Horn, Boothe’s neighbor and the organizer of her fundraiser, also set up a page on the youcaring.com website so people could donate to the Boothe family.
“I know Ashley and her husband are struggling and they would never ask for help,” Horn said. “Even before Ashley was diagnosed with cancer, and just trying to save the funds they will need for a new baby was difficult, but since the cancer everything has become that much harder for them and the people who love her.
“Ashley is my best friend and I just want her to be able to get the treatment she needs as well as be able to raise her new baby without having to worry how the electric bill is going to get paid.”
She said the benefit at the lodge in Land O’Lakes will feature live music, food vendors, a silent auction and a play area for kids. The cost of the tickets is $5 each. All of the money raised from the event and the website go directly to the Boothe family to pay for medical and living expenses as well as to offset the costs associated with a newborn.
Donna Confalone, a licensed massage therapist and the owner of Althea Massage & Spa in Carrollwood, heard about Ashley’s story and wanted to help.
During the month of October, Althea Massage & Spa will donate 10 percent of all sales to Ashley’s fundraiser.
“I was so moved by Ashley’s story that I wanted to find a way to help her and her family,” Confalone said. “As a local business owner, I am passionate about finding meaningful ways I can give back to my community and make a difference in someone’s life.”
For more information or to make a contribution, visit youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/kicking-cancer-for-ashley/85394.