Face of the Race: Ashley Copher

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FARMER CITY–

Any working mom will tell you, balancing the kids, work and finding time for yourself can be hard. One Farmer City mother is making it happen, as she trains for the mini I-Challenge marathon weekend. Anthony Antoine has tonight’s face of the race.
 
Everyday is a race to the finish line for Ashley Copher. Her husband is an early riser, so on most days, just like this one, he’s out the door before the sun comes up.
 
She says, “With a 4 year old, a 1 year old and a dog, it can get pretty crazy in the morning. We kind of let them wake up. so if it’s a late kind of wake up they just go in jammies that day. we’re not going to fight it, they’re cranky in the morning.
 
Once everyone’s on board, it’s out the door for a 20 minute drive to Dewey. That’s where grandma and grandpa take over. Then Ashley hops back in the car for another 20 minute drive, this time to work in Champaign.
At the end of a full workday it’s back home, and time to workout, as she prepares to run the mini i- challenge at the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon.
 
Two years ago Copher ran the 5k to inspire her mother who was battling cervical cancer.
 
“I really wanted to do it for her and show her that i can be strong too, you showed me that i can be strong like you are,” says Copher.
 
At 12 weeks pregnant she completed  the 3.1 miles, but the finish line wasn’t as sweet as she imagined. Her support system was nowhere to be found.
 
“They were all going to come out and cheer for me for a little bit and no one showed up. I was ready to storm in and ask why weren’t you guys here, why were you not there and go off on them. but them my mom and my dad said that the doctors said there’s nothing else they can do and she was on her own.”
 
After years of chemo and radiation, her mothers quality of life became the most important thing so she was moved to hospice care.
 
“We all kind of knew it was coming.”
 
Not knowing when things would take a turn. Ashley wanted her mom to know what she was having. So she scheduled a special doctor’s appointment.
 
Copher says, “We sat down and told her we’re having another boy. and I remember her saying “oh no we’re going to have another brantley running around. We were excited of course but i had my heart set on a girl for my mom of course.”
 
Ashley says she gave her mom a recording of the baby’s heartbeat and a few ultrasound pictures. Unfortunately, days later, her mother would say goodbye. But not without leaving her mark.
 
“We figured it was coming up pretty soon, we kind of looked away and when we looked back she was gone. It was the day after she passed we had our actual appointment to find out what the sex was, and we were told we were having a girl. so of course i was like ok, we were told we were having a boy. I need you to be sure we we’re having a girl.”
 
It’s only right that the little girl who would never meet her grandmother, would carry on her legacy.
 
“My moms name was christy so we took Christy and made it into Christine, we say she changed it to a girl.”
 
As for the ultrasound pictures and the recording from the first appointment.
 
Copher says, “We decided that we wanted to bury her with those in her casket so she could kind of have that.’
 
Everyday is a fight to the finish line for Ashley Copher, and this years mini i-challenge is a testament to the warrior within.
A spirit her mother embodied and she’s sending a message to every woman battling cervical cancer.
 
“It will definitely be different but i know she’ll always be with me and im doing it for her so there will definitely be a smile on my face, both times.”
 
It will be a very different scene at the finish line this year. Cophers friends, family, and co-workers will be there cheering her on. Wearing t-shirts raising awareness about cervical cancer.
 

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