Ashley Thomas, mother of three grown children, speaker, leader, 4th in the World in para kayaking, compassionate, outspoken, loyal, honest, advocate, all around mover and shaker…. Oh, by the way, she uses a wheelchair, and has lived her life with spina bifida.
Ashley believes that disability does not define outcomes, opportunities do. We can teach and empower children and youth to live with disability vs living disabled. As a community, we all have the honor and privilege to make a path that we all can go through.
Ashley is grateful for the rich life she has lived. She has lived in several places in the US as well as living seven year in the UK. She has traveled to several countries and see what can be, not all must be the same. She founded and leads Bridge II Sports, www.bridge2sports.org, an adapted sports organization, using sport as a tool to build confidence, strength, and independence.
Ashley is a public speaker/trainer/writer on many issues in the world of disability, working within her community and the state for access to recreation. Living with physical limits, blind/low vision, missing part of the body due to amputation, still requires activity to stay healthy for life. Her creative side developed adapted sport competition such as Valor Games Southeast for our Veterans, August Madness, Paddle Lake Crabtree, GiGe, are among some of her event. Bridge II Sports runs 10 year-round sports and host regional competitions. The design is to include diverse types of physical disabilities in one event, nurturing understanding of different disabilities.
Passion, proven results, integrity, strong communication skills, impeccable work ethic and the ability to motivate and lead are the traits I have exhibited. My experience raising a family, as a competitive athlete and a believer that adapted sports changes lives in a profound way allow me to speak and advocate with passion and conviction.
I have seen and experienced firsthand the life changes it creates and the independence it fosters. These are some of the reasons why I have become a strong advocate and leader for people with disabilities to have access to health, social inclusion, through adapted sports.
In her spare time, Ashley likes to refinish furniture, make bath Fizzies, entertain and enjoy friendship and family.