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Friends rally for ‘Ashton’s Hike’

Published: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 12:18 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 12:21 p.m. CDT

There’s a young Princeton boy who, this spring, became very ill and had to be placed within the pediatric critical care unit in Peoria.

The boy is 12-year-old Ashton Landrus. Many friends and families have kept Landrus in their thoughts and prayers as they’ve followed his journey back to health.

In May, Landrus experienced a seizure and was taken to Perry Memorial Hospital. From there he was transferred to Peoria and was diagnosed with viral meningitis and encephalitis. Doctors put him in a medically-induced coma to help with recovery.

Since then, members of the community have rallied to do anything they can to help the Landrus family during such a scary time.

Many are following the Facebook page, Ashton Landrus Prayer Group, where they can see and read updates on the young man’s progress and leave inspirational messages for the family.

From hearing the stories about Ashton, there is one that I find so touching and inspiring.

A group of Ashton’s fellow classmates got together, and with the help of their parents, organized a bake sale to raise money for Ashton and his family.

The students included Khalil Coleman, Emily Hartman, Kamilla Klingenberg, Jimmy Kurth, Christian Kinnamon, Caleb Alter, Liam Duffin and Coby Hill.

The bake sale was held between the homes of parents Jody Coleman and Jodi Hartman.

Many parents helped bake items to be sold, as they used social media and word of mouth to bring awareness to the fundraiser.

On the day of the bake sale, many community members — some who were complete strangers — came bearing baked goods to be sold. They had learned about the sale and wanted to give a lending hand.

When the sale was finished and the monies were counted, the classmates discovered they had raised $2,200. Of that total, $600 alone was from “Ashton’s Hike” bracelets, which were made and sold for $3 each.

One of the parents put it just right when she said, “That’s a lot of money for just selling cookies and cupcakes.”

Talk about a community coming together to help out one another.

I recently got the opportunity to sit down and talk with the students about Ashton and his recovery.

While summer break is supposed to be a time of freedom and relaxation, the students are spending this year’s break praying and thinking about their dear friend. Many have even taken trips to the hospital to sit near Ashton’s bedside.

They say the whole situation is “freaky” because they have been faced with the hard-life realization that anything can happen to anyone, at anytime and to never take anything for granted. One of the friends spoke up and said it’s scary to see a friend hurt like this.

They all want people to know, however, that Ashton is getting better and is now awake from his coma. They say it would be great if Ashton got more visitors, as it would continue to help push him along in his journey to recovery.

Anyone can join the Ashton Landrus Prayer Group Facebook page. It’s full of updates and photos of Ashton’s progress. People can also visit www.youcaring.com/ashtonshike and make a donation to help with the family’s medical expenses.

“Ashton’s Hike” bracelets can be purchased at many local stores and restaurants in Princeton. All monies raised from the bracelets are donated to the Landrus family.

BCR Staff Writer Goldie Currie can be reached at gcurrie@bcrnews.com.

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