BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – A Bryan woman who survived a long fight with breast cancer received an unexpected blessing Thursday in the form of a $1,000 check.
Ashley Flemings was surprised by a short presentation ceremony that was set up by a new company called LUSH Lifestyle that raised and donated the money. The company’s owners and founders, Debra and Daniel Lee, say LUSH means “lift until something happens,” and was created with the goal of making a difference in the lives of the people it touches.
“This is just totally something that I never would’ve imagined,” Flemings, who was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma on January 2, 2019, said. “I’m just grateful, really grateful.”
LUSH Lifestyle was started at the beginning of the year by the Lees when they combined the inspiration from the teachings of their church, Endtime Evangelistic Pentecostal Church, and their belief in the major benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
“When you feel good, when you feel healthy, you bring a different glow about yourself,” Debra said. “You’re not just lifting weights, but maybe you’re lifting yourself out of depression or obesity.”
“It doesn’t necessarily mean getting big or getting strong,” Daniel said. “It’s more so about being healthy because we believe that health is wealth, and you’ve got to be healthy to survive.”
Ashley and Debra have been friends for a long time, and both their families attend the same church. Inspired by her story and the difficult battle Flemings had to fight day in and day out, LUSH Lifestyle used the sales of t-shirts to raise the money, and all the proceeds were donated to her.
“I grew up with Ashley. Her mom and my mom were really close friends,” Debra said. “Always seeing her helping others is really special. She doesn’t ask questions. She doesn’t ask for anything. She just pitches in a helping hand and to see the smile on your face makes her happy. That’s why it touches me to be able to bless her.”
While her doctors have deemed her cancer-free, Flemings says the length of her battle, which included a bilateral mastectomy and three other surgeries in 2019, has been the toughest part of her fight to overcome. During her radiation treatment, she was traveling to see her doctors in Houston and The Woodlands five times a week.
“Just waiting for the reconstructive path, which they told me will be two to three other surgeries, that length and waiting, along with the bilateral mastectomy, has been the most difficult for me,” Flemings said. “I was supposed to begin my reconstructive path this year, but because of COVID, everything’s been extended, so it’ll be in 2021.”
The Lees say they wanted to do something special for a close friend who’s inspired them.
“She’s always smiling, always joyful, and even going through this, she’s never held her head down,” Daniel said. “She’s battling breast cancer and she’s still surviving and smiling every day like nothing’s wrong, so that moves me.”
Debra and Daniel want to make these sorts of surprises bigger and better in the years to come. Meanwhile, Flemings says she plans on getting more involved with LUSH Lifestyle in the future. She also wants all women fighting breast cancer, no matter how hard it gets, to stay positive throughout their battle.
“Keep the faith,” Flemings said. “If you don’t know God, I encourage you to get to know God. Get around positive people that encourage you and push you to get through this, and don’t dwell on what you’re going through. Just keep the faith. It might seem like it’s going to get worse before it gets better, but you’re going to get through it. It’s only temporary, so be encouraged.”
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