Every now and then I’ll read a story and yell out a verbal, “NO WAY!” And I have to tell you, that happened recently.
I opened my email and saw a newsletter from LDS Living. One of the links they had in their newsletter was to a story about a Latter-day Saint who was featured on the Humans of New York social media account.
I learned the story of Ashley Evanson, a BYU alum, and it was the highlight of my day. It renewed my faith in an all-knowing Father in Heaven who knows exactly how to inspire us, who has perfect timing, and who knows how to lead us through our trials with the blessing of hope.
Ashley was asked to share an impactful story about her life and shared the experience of being in a car accident as a child in which her father was killed. In the accident, her left hand was crushed – which for a talented pianist, which Ashley is, was a terrible tragedy.
Ashely shared what she was feeling immediately after the accident: “My first thought was my hands. I had a piano competition coming up, so I looked down at my hands. One of them started to crumble before my eyes.”
Having a daughter who plays the piano at competition level, I know how often I worried her hands would be injured. I honestly considered at one point the idea of buying insurance on her hands in case anything went wrong.
And it did go terribly wrong for Ashley.
After he father passed, the family was able to have portions of his body donated. Ashley mentioned, “his eyes, his tissues, and his ligaments. We have a list of fifty people whose lives he changed.”
The one interesting thing in this whole story is that Ashley’s mother requested that they set aside a portion of her husband’s bone for her to have – though she can’t exactly remember why in the world she did that.
Because of the accident, Ashley not only lost her dad but she also lost the thing she loved the most, the ability to play the piano.
“Piano had been such a huge part of my identity. It was also my stress relief. But all the bones in my left hand were pulverized, and whenever I tried to play with my right, I’d just end up crying. I went through surgery after surgery. Hardware was put in, hardware was taken out, but nothing worked.”
Ashley mentioned that she and her dad were best friends. If anyone asked her who her best friend was, dad it was. They had an incredible bond and his loss was understandably a huge blow.
With his loss, and with her crippled hand, her life felt like it was in crisis.
At one point, the doctor’s had exhausted all options and told Ashley, ‘Your hand is dying, and the only thing left to try is a bone transplant.’
Only then did her mother remember her father’s bones. Ashley states, “When we grafted his bone onto my wrist, the blood started to flow. My hand came back to life. And I could play again.”
Like I said at the beginning, this is one of those stories that made me say, “NO WAY!” This needs to be made into a movie, and I said the same to director T.C. Christensen.
Ashley left the team at Humans in New York will the following words:
“Even now, seventeen years later, and with four kids of my own, piano is such a big part of my life. I play at church. And even though we have a shoebox of a house, we have a piano. In our living room we keep a photo album of my dad. We talk about him all the time: what he did, who he was. I hate that he never got to meet my kids, but they know him.”
You can see the full post from Humans of New York here.