Fighting leukemia, Pullman Elementary School first-grader gets royalty honorThe St. Paul Park Heritage Days royalty surprised first-grader Ashley Boesel, who is battling leukemia, by making her princess for a day.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Ashley Boesel was surprised when she saw her sister, Cala, come into her first-grade classroom at Pullman Elementary School last week.
As she was hugging Cala, Ashley noticed the Heritage Days royalty members came in followed by numerous members of her family.
Miss Heritage Days Haley Sklenar called Ashley to the front of the room; the royalty had a surprise for her.
Ashley was about to become Princess for the Day.
Ashley wears a purple and gold hat, reflecting her family's unfailing support of the Minnesota Vikings. It also keeps her head warm because she lost her hair during chemotherapy treatments for leukemia that was discovered in January.
Sklenar took the hat and replaced it with a white hat to hold Ashley's princess crown.
She also got a princess sash, name tag, shirt, bag to carry her crown and white cape. Sklenar offered to let Ashley ride with them on the Heritage Days float in a River Falls Christmas parade. “Yes!” said Ashley without a moment's hesitation.
After at least two dozen relatives took her picture with the royalty, Ashley handed out cookies to her classmates as a treat and said how happy she was.
“I'm very proud for myself,” she said. “I've been through a lot.”
Ashley's mother, Kris, said Ashley's been having weekly chemotherapy treatments.
The normally very active and happy 7-year-old has good days and bad ones.
“You can tell when she's not feeling well,” said Mary Dezurik, one of Ashley's grandmothers.
Angela Olson, Ashley's teacher, said she is a very cheerful child and is coping well.
A Children's Hospital representative came to the class to explain leukemia and how it causes hair loss.
“The kids can stand up for Ashley and explain if someone teases her,” Olson said.
Ashley and her immediate family will go to Disney world next year compliments of the Make a Wish Foundation, her mother said.
Ashley also wanted to go to a football game and see the Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers.
“Not even the Make a Wish Foundation could make that happen,” said Christina Domeier, who helps the royalty with public appearances.
But Ashley was happy to go to the game earlier this month anyway. She was invited down on the field to meet and hug players. Later, she received a signed shirt from Vikings long-snapper Cullen Loeffler, who is active in supporting organizations that raise money for leukemia.