In 2007 Ainsley was diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic nerve disorder called Infantale Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD). Ainsley, who just recently turned ten years old in December of 2013, is still aggressively fighting her rapidly progressing illness of which only seven cases of INAD are known in the United States. Most children with this diagnosis pass on before reaching ten years of age, as there is no cure or treatment to help slow down this very progressive and terminal disease.
Shorty after receiving news of Ainsley's diagnosis, her family moved to Virginia Beach and Ainsley completed the Surfer’s Healing VB 5K road race, received her finisher’s medal and became an official Team Hoyt Virginia Beach (THVB) ATHLETE! In an instant, THVB provided the family with a therapeutic means to fight the devastation associated with learning and trying to live with the fact that sweet Ainsley has a terminal illness. Her smile on the race course, the positive energy surrounding the start line, the other rider athletes and pushers smiling from ear to ear, the togetherness of every member preparing to ‘roll with the wind’, the fearlessness of the athletes, the normalcy of the family, and the love everyone shares is a therapy like no other!
Over the next five years, THVB grew through love and passion from ten pushers, seven riders, and seven jogger chairs into a family of over 200 volunteer pushers, over 100 athlete riders, and with a fleet of over 75 jogger chairs. Meanwhile, Ainsley's dystrophy progressed to the point of global paralysis, leaving her unable to communicate, but her beautiful, running-aided, breeze-induced smile continued to inspire.
Today, Ainsley continues to compete by the motto of “Rolling with the wind” and has compiled quite an impressive resume. Ranging from many 5K road races and 6 half-marathons to the 26.2 mile Marine Corps Marathon, Ainsley has completed over 40 road races (12 of which with her 11 year old sister) and has brought many a smile to the faces of her many friends, family members, and supporters around the world.
She has inspired the creation of eight 501c3 public charities (TX, Eastern and Central Carolina, LA, Southern CA, Maryland, Mississippi and Virginia), the Ainsley's Angels of America Foundation, and the writing of a children’s book by her sister (Born An Angel by Briley Rossiter).
To read an inspirational expose' about one of Ainsley's runs with Ainsley's Angels of East Carolina and to learn a little more about this amazing little girl click here.