Alabaster boy surprised with trip to Disney World

Published 4:47 pm Monday, February 21, 2022

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By EMILY REED | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – An Alabaster family will be heading to Disney this May after being surprised with the trip through Magic Moments and Alabaster City Schools.

Manda Deaile sponsors the Thompson High School FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America), which helped raise money in 2021 for Magic Moments.

Magic Moments is the only wish granting organization devoted exclusively to creating “magic moments” in the lives of children in Alabama with chronically life-threatening medical conditions, according to the organization’s website.

A magic moment allows children and their families to forget, even if just for a little while, the fear and pain of their illness.

Deaile said Magic Moments contacted the FCCLA regarding a student at Thompson Intermediate School who loved basketball.

“We were so excited to help surprise him with his dream trip to Disney,” Deaile said. “Coach Dru Powell was immediately willing to help us surprise the student.”

The student, John Ashley, and his family, were invited to attend the basketball game, and John was invited to throw in the game ball and join the basketball team on the bench.

“John and his brother were welcomed by all the Thompson High basketball team, and he was so excited,” Deaile said. “Then at halftime, the FCCLA took the court to announce that John and his family would be going to Disney. The cheerleaders and basketball team all joined in celebrating with John and his family.”

John had a form of bone cancer and has endured treatments that included getting a new bone in his leg.

John’s mother, Asha Ashley, posted on Facebook that the journey has not been easy, but she credits God for helping her family through it all.

Ashley thanked Magic Moments and Alabaster City Schools for helping to create the special moment for her son.

“We still have a ways to go, but Jesus has been with us every step of the way,” she said. “John kept saying, ‘but mama, are you for real? Do we really get to go?”

Deaile said FCCLA is proud to partner with the Magic Moments organization to make dreams come true for local heroes.

FCCLA had a Valentine’s bake sale and all proceeds from the sale went to Magic Moments.

John Ashley and his family live in Alabaster where John currently attends Thompson Intermediate School.

The family trip is planned for May of this year, and Deaile said the FCCLA loved being a small part of John’s journey.