Ashley Lynn Villarreal

March 13, 1997 – January 27, 2001


Ashley had sandy blonde hair, big brown eyes, and the biggest smile ever. Ashley I think is most remembered for her costumes. She would wear her costumes until there was nothing left of them. She wore them everywhere…. Once she was Cinderella and another time a bunny.

Ashley was loved by so many people. She just had this magic to her she really did. She brought so much joy to so many lives. She was never sick more than a fever and a cold. Then on a Friday afternoon I noticed the corners of inside her eyes were yellow so I called her doctor and she told me to bring her in on Monday that is was probably hepatitis.

On Monday she woke up very sick so I rushed her to the doctor’s office and she was admitted into North Central Baptist Hospital. She was on quarantine because until the entire test was done it was thought to be hepatitis. On Wednesday – we heard the news – it was liver failure. On Friday the doctor came in and said that she could not believe Ashley was awake that her ammonia levels were so high that an adult would be in a coma. She was taken off of quarantine so we went to the children’s play room where we painted two pictures that I still have. Not knowing at the time it would be my last time to ever get to play with my daughter is one of the best moments I could have had with her. She was laughing and just so happy. That day the doctor’s ran a pick line. When Ashley woke up it was bad, she was transferred to University Hospital and was diagnosed with fuliment heptic failure. It is a one in ten million chance of getting it and you need a liver transplant. We waited 7 days for a liver. The saddest thing is we knew that while waiting that someone would die for my child to live. Her Aunt Christina was tested to be a live donor. Two weeks after Ashley passed it came back that she was a match for my daughter. The liver failure caused brain damage and she was taken off the transplant list. There was nothing anyone could do for her the liver failure caused the brain damage.

All through Ashley’s hospital stay many organizations stepped in to help in many ways. Transplants for Children visited and brought inspirational stories for me to read of survivors of transplants. Then after Ashley passed away their help did not stop. Transplants for Children also donated the picture of Ashley on her tombstone. It means so much to me that people walking by have a chance to see what a beautiful girl she was. Transplants for Children also looked for four years for me of a family like mine to have a child to pass away of fuliment heptic failure. After four years we still could not find a family. There are many programs that they still offer for families. I am very grateful for everything this foundation has done for our family.

She died January 27, 2001 just two months away from being 4 years old. I see her cousins and how they have grown up and I always wonder what she would have looked like and what things she would be into. At times it seems like yesterday that we lost her then days like today I feel the tremendous sadness of the years gone by without her.

Thank you for allowing me to share just a small part of Ashley’s story with you.

Elizabeth Engram