A look back on melanoma patient's last wish to pass tanning ban

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by JEAN ENERSEN / KING 5 HealthLink

KREM.com

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 6:27 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 28 at 6:40 AM

KREM 2's sister station KING 5 shared the story of a young woman whose dying wish was to get a bill to ban youth from tanning beds passed and to warn anyone who would listen about the dangers of tanning. That bill, signed by Gov. Jay Inslee Thursday, now bans teens under the age of 18 from using tanning beds.

MORE: Inslee signs bill banning tanning beds for youth

When we first met Ashley Trenner in 2011, she was already on her third clinical trial, battling melanoma, the most deadly kind of skin cancer.

“I used to say I don’t care if I die from tanning as long as I die tanned. I used to say that. I don’t think that way anymore,” said Ashley.

She was traveling to and from Portland to Seattle every week, desperately hoping that this time she’d finally beat it for good.

A year later, Ashley would celebrate the big 4-0 with her parents Bob and Karen and a crowd of friends.

“I think there were about a hundred people there and they had a grand time as we did celebrating her 40th year, thinking that she may not make 41st,” said Ashley’s mom, Karen.

They were right. The tumors came back, this time sprouting almost everywhere.

“Head to toe about right here. That’s where most of all my pain is, all the tumors are pretty much that area,” said Ashley said.

The end of a journey.

“So as far as treatment right now, done,” she said.

Ashley spent her last days warning anyone who would listen.

“I paid. I paid money to be in the position that I am now. I wasn’t just like I wanted to be tan. I was literally paying someone to get this terrible disease that’s killing me. That is killing me. Terminal,” said Ashley.

The right side of her face was paralyzed.

“So I try not to smile at you,” she laughed. “Sorry.”

But she never gave up on style.

“Wonderful people who come do my nails and toes.”

In the end, she was grateful too that cancer gave her the chance to finally make peace with her parents.

“Through that blossomed a beautiful relationship that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Anything. So I say yes, it took cancer to get us where we are, but I wouldn’t change that,” she said.

“So a sad time, but a special time,” Ashley’s father, Bob, said. “It’s kind of a bittersweet time for us and our family.”

Ashley had only one last wish.

“If there’s one person’s life that I can affect, then that’s a beautiful gift that I could give to someone ‘cause I don’t want them to end up like me at all. It’s just not worth it. I can’t express that enough. It’s just not worth it.”

Ashley passed away shortly after our interview on March 15, 2013.

Related links:

Woman who went public with melanoma fight passes away

Melanoma patient's last wish includes warning about tanning beds



 

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