IUDM has its own language. Phrases like IUDM, #ImForAsh, ALC, and FTK. All single letters that look small on paper but mean SO much more in our DM family. One in particular that has always stuck out to me was ALC, Ashley Louise Crouse, an amazing woman who put her heart into loving her DM family, and loving her life. Ashley passed away in 2005 in a tragic car accident, and has been a legacy of IUDM ever since. 

Last fall, I trained for the Chicago Marathon with IUDM as my main motivation. I raised money throughout the months of running and looked to my DM family for support. 

Ironically, in the end, my Riley Development Committee posted my final time in our GroupMe before I even knew my time myself. The support was indescribable.

Throughout my training, I also had one of Ashley’s roommates, Andrea Porter from Kappa Kappa Gamma, reach out to me through a Facebook message. After this message below, I find it nearly impossible to be on a run and not be reminded of Ashley’s love for life or feel her light shining down on me.

Hi Alissa! Good luck this weekend!!! Ash really just loved life! When we were at Kappa she would walk into the room always signing a trumpet sound… not sure why but just always so happy!!! When we would go running together she loved the big hill near the soccer stadium. She loved the challenge of getting up but more important how great you felt after. When you run the marathon think of how great it will feel running up the incline at the end. More important be grateful for the day and being able to help set goals and enjoy the amazing race. Lots of us write ALC on our hands when running a race. She always said FTK (for the kids) if they can be thankful and happy in the hospital and we can accomplish anything. Wish I was there running with you! Have fun and know your message means so much to me.

“Ashley’s Hill” has been a weekly route for me, and every single time I run up this hill from Fee to Jordan, I think of Ashley’s strength and picture her shining down on me. I also feel the strength from the kids at Riley Hospital for Children and the strength of everyone in the DM family.

I have never met Ashley, but I do not need to in order to understand her contagious energy and love for life. Through her legacy that she has left behind, she has taught me so much about life and what it is all about. How to love, how to care, and how to “just be” in every moment of every day.

​I’m Alissa Becker, and I’m FTK!