Ashley Louise Crouse was an inspiration to all who met her. By all accounts, she was caring friend, a passionate charity worker, and truly “an angel among us.” Ashley graduated from Carmel High School and went on to attend Clemson University before transferring to Indiana University. Ashley joined Kappa Kappa Gamma and quickly became involved with IU Dance Marathon. In fact, she worked her way to become Vice President of Communications on the 2005 Executive Council.

Tragically, on April 12, 2005, Ashley was hit and killed in drunk driving accident outside of her Kappa Kappa Gamma home on her way back from an IUDM Executive Council meeting. Both the IUDM and IU community alike deeply mourned the loss of this selfless individual, who always had a smile on her face and an uncanny positivity about her. Ashley’s passing created a ripple effect of giving back. The 2005 IUDM raised a more for Riley Hospital for Children than ever before, surpassing the previous year’s total by a record $200,000, and making Ashley’s favorite quote, “If you can dream it, you can do it,” the quote of the year. The IUDM community started a commemorative annual week of its two biggest inspirations, Ryan White and Ashley Louise Crouse, during which an April walk starting at Kappa Kappa Gamma in her and Ryan’s honor. Ten years later, Ashley continues to inspire. Her passion and love for Riley and IUDM is memorialized in the “ALC” initials found on all IUDM apparel to remind us to be more like Ashley and aim to serve like she did.

The loss of Ashley similarly ignited a movement back home in Carmel, IN as well. Carmel High School, at which Ashley served as Student Body President, began a Carmel Dance Marathon, an event Ashley would have loved. Carmel Dance Marathon has since grown to be the largest high school dance marathon in the nation.

Ashley’s younger brother, Casey Crouse, who was instrumental in the development of Carmel Dance Marathon, continued his sister’s legacy at IU, serving as President of IUDM his senior year. Still today, Casey is as committed and passionate about the cause as ever. Only now he has taken on a new challenge to do what he can For The Kids: an Ironman. After training for months, Casey competed in his first Ironman last fall to raise awareness and funds for Riley Hospital for Children, fundraising over $50,000 for IUDM. Now, Casey is upping the stakes. For his second Ironman, Casey has established a goal of $250,000 FTK. Casey’s campaign, #ImForAsh, an allusion to his participation in an Ironman in her honor (“Im”), is relaunching through IUDM’s Advertising committee, who will be passing out blue #ImForAsh ribbons on campus on Ashley Day, Tuesday, April 7th to spread awareness of Casey’s honorable mission.

Help Casey reach his goal by donating at iudm.org/imforash and following Casey’s journey through @ImForAsh on Instagram, Twitter, and like the page on Facebook!

This year, the celebration of Ryan and Ashley week kicked off Monday, April 6th and will conclude on Sunday, April 12th with the Ryan and Ashley Walk which will begin at 3PM at Kappa Kappa Gamma.  Everyone is welcome at the walk to remember these inspiring young people.

We’re Meredith Baranowski and Chelsea Katz, and we’re FTK.