Sixteen-year-old Ashley Meyer never planned to golf. At age 5, she had a different plan. She wanted to cheer — and to be the best cheerleader.
Ashley never planned to be a Red Sox fan either. But during baseball season, the Philadelphia native shuns Phillies wear, donning Red Sox garb instead. And when basketball season rolls around, she’s often sporting Celtics’ green rather than 76ers’ blue.
We knew right away. Ashley turned to me and said, ‘Mom, he’s the one who will fix me.’
“We call her the Philly traitor,” jokes Ashley’s mom Loreen, a nurse at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.
Nicknames aside, Loreen and her husband Robert are fine with their daughter’s affinity for Boston.
After all, it’s the city where Ashley regained her mobility.
Ashley’s health challenges started when she was 5. Her knee would click and lock.
Although Ashley always seemed to be smiling, the pain often kept her from running or playing, says Loreen.
Loreen took Ashley to her pediatrician and then a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. An MRI showed a discoid meniscus. The condition, characterized by an abnormally shaped meniscus, can cause knee pain or knee popping. Typically, children with these symptoms can be treated via arthroscopic surgery.
Ashley had her first surgery to reshape and repair her meniscus at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“She did OK and stuck with her physical therapy, but she plateaued to a point that left her with ongoing pain and difficulty walking,” says Loreen.
Over the next two years, Ashley had two more knee surgeries at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children to repair her meniscus.
Each time, the result was the same. She’d get better, but the pain would persist, and walking grew increasingly challenging. She needed crutches, a walker and then a wheelchair.