Hodgenville Elementary School’s entire student body and staff welcomed fifth grade pupil Ashley Long back to the school in a gym assembly Sept. 14.
Long, 10 years old, hasn’t attended HES since second grade because of her battle with childhood cancer that has included two bone marrow transplants.
“It’s a big day for us,” said Long’s father Todd, whose family resides off Leafdale Road. “We were so glad to see her walk through those doors into the school again and also to know that the cancer is in remission.”
Superintendent of LaRue County Schools Sam Sanders recognized Tommy Turner, LaRue County judge-executive, who read a special proclamation.
“Being duly recognized for the never-ending courage and inspiration she bestows upon all who know her, I hereby proclaim Friday, Sept. 14 as Ashley Long Day in LaRue County,” Turner told the audience who gave the student a standing ovation.
Melissa Pearman, HES family resource center coordinator, prepared a throne for Long which had written across its top in large letters trimmed in gold, “Ashley, our hero, we love you.” Pearman also placed a crown on Long’s head, a sash over her shoulder and a scepter in her hand.
“In honor of Ashley, our HES cancer survivor hero, I wanted to inform the students and staff that the September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month,” Pearman told the full gym.
She noted that each year in the United States, some 13,400 children between birth and 19 years of age are diagnosed with cancer.
“About one in every 300 boys and one in 333 girls will develop cancer before their 20th birthday,” Pearman said. “Improvements have been made in childhood cancer. In fact, the survival rate has increased drastically.”
Pearman gave each person who entered the gym a gold ribbon, the international symbol of childhood cancer.
“Please wear this in honor of Ashley,” she said. “We all at HES love and honor you, Ashley.”