Ashton was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 10. “For me it was and is never about being a patient, it’s about living my life to the fullest and never holding my disease responsible for missing out on one thing or another”, said Ashton. Since then, empowerment has been her key to find her own success and help others to do the same.
As a UCLA junior with a strong GPA, she’s empowering others. On the local level, she has created support groups and a forum for UCLA students to meet monthly and share their experiences with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, she is also a member of CCFA’s National Council of College Leaders. In addition, she is making an impact internationally. Ashton was chosen to lead the Jacobs International Teen Leadership Institute (JITLI), a dialogue and cultural awareness program, JITLI brings together Jews and Muslims from the US and Israel for a year-long program that ends with a trip to Israel. “Despite my fears of being in a foreign country and the necessity to embrace such a great sense of responsibility, I refused to let my Crohn’s stand in the way of such a compelling experience,” said Ashton. “Discovering my sense of empowerment has been essential to actively creating the life I choose to live. I have chosen to let Crohn’s Disease be a part of my definition, but I vowed to never let it define me.”