Ashley Park is a Tony Award nominee for her exhilarating turn as Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls on Broadway. She is also a pediatric cancer survivor and a wish kid! Originally from Michigan, her wish a decade ago had been to see “Broadway” (which at the time she thought was a single building and not a theater district!).
At our June 6th Power of a Wish gala, Ashley spoke about the long-term impact of her wish and of the joy of helping to grant the wish of another child:
“What you do in this organization is so important because being diagnosed as a young person is pretty surreal. Imagine being a kid, one morning you wake up worried about who is gonna get the choir solo, or where your crush is going for winter break… and then all of a sudden you have cancer!
It was a lot of time alone… being bald and medicated and that’s how I spent most of my sophomore year - in a hospital room with my nurses, my mom and grandma who were my caretakers while my dad was with my sister at home. So, our family didn’t get to be together in a room that whole time. Part of the reason why my wish was to go to NYC was to be all together. I was 17 at that point and had never been to NYC or seen a Broadway show, but I really felt in my heart that it was what I wanted to pursue.
That wish has carried me to this point. To this place and the special community that is Broadway. It made it all tangible for me, and it absolutely continues to be the seed to all my dreams. And maybe most importantly, this organization taught me by example, how to care and give to others when they need it most.
In January, wish kid Palmer came to rehearse with us and made her Broadway debut. What I didn’t know ten years ago was that my wish was actually for that moment - to have worked and been able to live so fully that my daily work life somehow became a part of Palmer’s extraordinary. She was so full of zest and left inspired to help someone else with their wish one day."
Ashley also had the opportunity to mentor and partner with another wish kid, Bettirose, who sang at the gala. To say thanks to our audience for helping us reach our goal during the “Fund the Mission” auction, Bettirose and Ashley joined together on stage to sing Let It Be. Watch and enjoy!
To watch Ashley's full inspirational speech, visit our Youtube channel.