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Kentucky Basketball rallies around brain cancer patient

Cats for Ash

Earlier this week, KSR reader Philip sent me a story about his daughter, Ashley Lyles, a 35-year-old Marshall County native who is a UK alum and huge basketball fan. Lyles, who lives in Chicago, went to the hospital in December for a severe headache only to find out that she had rare, terminal brain cancer. According to doctors, Lyles had a Grade IV glioblastoma tumor, an extremely aggressive and fast-growing form of cancer with a prognosis of one or two years.

On December 22, Ashley had surgery to remove the tumor, although it cannot be totally eradicated. That morning, John Calipari sent this tweet of encouragement:

Here’s a picture of Ashley and Cal from better days:



Since then, Ashley started radiation five times a week and chemo seven times a week. She cut off her hair to be used to make wigs for cancer patients, and even had the hairdresser shave a “UK” into the side:


Ashley’s friends and family have started a “Sparkle for Ashley” campaign to raise money and awareness for her cause, and upon seeing the picture last week, the UK basketball team posed with a “UK Sparkles for Ashley” sign, as you can see at the top of the page. The team told her they’d win the South Carolina game for her, and they did, in spectacular fashion.

Philip said the outpouring of support for his daughter has been overwhelming and has lifted Ashley’s spirits; however, she goes on disability next month and her expenses are mounting. Her friends started a GoFundMe page to raise money for her treatments. If you’re interested in donating, please click here and also visit her Facebook group, Ashley’s Angels. Ashley has pledged to donate any funds not used for her treatments to brain cancer research.

For the past several years, Philip and Ashley have taken a father/daughter trip to the SEC Tournament, and her six weeks of treatments end two weeks before the tournament begins. If she feels strong enough, Ashley plans to be there with her dad to cheer the Cats on.

I’ll leave you with a plea from Philip for his daughter:

“If you would please end it with a plea for prayers from the BBN on her behalf. She’s truly in God’s hands.”


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

7 Comments for Kentucky Basketball rallies around brain cancer patient

  1. RUPPS.rhetoric
    12:12 pm February 17, 2016 Permalink

    God bless you Ashley, keep fighting!

  2. RealCatsFan
    12:32 pm February 17, 2016 Permalink

    Prayers going out! This has been a rough week for me for tough news – my mom is in poor health and not doing well, best friend’s wife lost her brother in law… but my troubles are trivial compared to this. Best of luck Ashley, and fight on!

  3. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    12:56 pm February 17, 2016 Permalink

    Prayers out to this beautiful woman and her family! My mother passed away from this horrible rare tumor right after the 2012 title. I have so many great memories of her during an awesome year watching the cats win it all. Glioblastoma tumors are very rare and very aggressive, with that said prayer is very powerful and it has been beaten. God bless her! Cal has such a platform here at Kentucky and uses it so well! Proud to have him as a coach to shape and mold these wonderful young men!

  4. Long Dong Silver
    1:39 pm February 17, 2016 Permalink

    This is so sad. Such a beautiful, young woman.

  5. BK
    2:00 pm February 17, 2016 Permalink

    I’m not sure if this is helpful, but can’t hurt. There is a company in San Antonio called Genspera, that is currently enrolling patients for a phase II Glioblastoma study. It is still early stage, but a subset of patients with a particular tumor profile has shown marked improvement with no significant side-effects. If this lady exhausts all other options it might be a possibility to consider.

    • RealCatsFan
      2:43 pm February 17, 2016 Permalink

      There is also a new type of radiation commonly known as cyberknife which can be valuable for treating tumors that are otherwise inoperable. When you are confronted with a life-threatening disease like this, you need to become your own patient advocate and learn as much about it and the treatment options as possible. Sometimes a loved one can serve this role, because just dealing with the emotional ramifications of the disease is all the patient can handle.

  6. jaws2
    2:14 pm February 17, 2016 Permalink

    God Bless Ashley, my prayers are with her.