Many believe that all it takes is one song to bring back 1,000 memories, moments we hold dear and relive in our minds every time we listen to it. No one knows this better than the Vickers family, sharing their beautiful memories and storytelling through music, rhythm and melody.
In May of 2015, just six months after her fourth child, Knoxx, was born, Ashley Vickers was diagnosed with ALS. Just 33 years old, a hard-working, young mother of four, a pediatric nurse and a wedding & event planner. Shocked by the news, she and her husband Randy decided they were not going to give in to this disease, they were going to fight.
With the incredible support of her family, friends and community in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, they continue to do just that. “I have four crazy kids, and they keep me busy – busy,” says Ashley. Despite the challenges ALS brings every day, the Vickers family makes the most of every moment they spend together, making incredible memories they will forever share.
Last year, with the help of our partners at Numotion Foundation, and The ALS Association Tennessee Chapter, the Vickers family were given the chance to turn one of their memories into a beautiful song. The Vickers joined with The Sing Me a Story Foundation, a nonprofit serving children, providing them the opportunity to use their imagination and write stories about anything they choose. And with the help of many talented songwriters, they bring these stories to life in a song.
Struggling to decide which memory they wanted to write about, Ashley looked across the room at a family picture they had taken on a beach vacation and the answer was clear: the beach. Her four children, Knoxx - age 5, Caroline – age 10, Maggie-Kate – age 11, and Hannah – age 17, got to work writing and illustrating their story, reflecting on an amazing summer evening they shared playing and fishing on their beach vacation. “Beach Night” became a reality.
Once finished, The Sing Me a Story Foundation turned over the Vickers’ story to their talented country singer and songwriter, JP Harris. With pencil, paper and guitar in hand, JP got to work and “Warm Summer Night” was born. “It was fun to interpret what came as sort of just prose and already sort of rhyming scheme into a song for the family. It was really fun,” said JP.
Once finished, JP had the opportunity to meet the Vickers in person - socially distanced outside in their back yard - to perform the song he had written for them. “I feel a lot of hope for this family in general. They just seem like a really tight group of really positive and really tough souls,” he said.
Their beach vacation memorialized in song was a defining moment for their family: it was not about ALS. It was about salty kisses, sandy toes, sno-cones and boogie boards. A complete summation of an amazing memory they will forever cherish together as they continue to make many more. “They said I had two years,” said Ashley. Randy quickly chimed in, “And of course she beat that, it’s six years later. So, she said she showed ALS.”
Special thanks to the Vickers family and the team at The ALS Association Tennessee Chapter for allowing us to share this heartwarming story during ALS Awareness Month, because every moment matters. For more information about how you can get involved in the fight against ALS, visit als.org.