Ansley Prosser, resourceful and generous at the age of 10, made possible a huge donation last weekend of much-needed canned goods to a nonprofit facility in Memphis, Tenn.
It was her way of honoring her sister, Carly.
For the first eight years of her life, Ansley – now a fifth-grader at Gloverville Elementary School – would remind her parents just how much she had prayed for a baby sister.
Cathy and Terry Prosser presented Ansley with Carly two years ago. Just a few months later, Carly was diagnosed with cortical blindness and epilepsy, which has caused infantile spasms.
Since then, the Prossers have taken Carly for treatment at Methodist Le Bonheur Health in Memphis, 16 times thus far.
“This has really changed my life,” Ansley said on Thursday. “I've come to know God better. Carly has taught me a lot of things. She has opened up my eyes to people that need help like Carly. That's what has really motivated me.”
FedEx Family House provides, at no cost, a residential facility for families like the Prossers while their children are getting treatment at Le Bonheur. During her first trip to Memphis, Ansley watched volunteers cook dinner at the FedEx house. She soon realized “it was her turn.”
Every year the Gloverville school conducts a canned food drive to join others in supporting the Valley Outreach Interfaith Center.
Ansley talked with her teacher, Erin Spears, about helping the FedEx residence too. Spears soon got school support to donate half the collected food to the Memphis facility.
“Ansley wants to help everybody who is going through anything,” her mother said. “She has such an impact on her classmates, and all of them love Carly. All of them have been so supportive to Ansley and Carly.”
Spears has “looped” with her students – teaching them as fourth-graders and keeping them in her classroom again as fifth-graders this school year. All of them are great people, she said.
“Ansley has been so excited about the support of the whole school,” Spears said. “For a long time, my kids have been very close. Ansley is one that all of them just like. She's an amazing person, and my kids just sense that.”
Cathy spent two months with Carly at Le Bonheur last fall. Her daughter's life expectancy has no formal prognosis, but her health issues are dire.
“She has seizures every day and has therapy three times a week,” Prosser said. “The slightest illness can set us way, way back, but we're trying our best and doing OK.”
Ansley is so grateful to her friends and others throughout the community for their support.
“It was amazing. I don't know how to explain it,” she said. “It made me so happy I did something for the community and for people in Memphis. They have pantries full of food when they come and stay.”
Ansley is all of 10 and knows already she will pursue a career in the health field. Her mom, a nurse, has inspired her, and so has her little sister, she said.
Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard's education reporter.
Carly Unlimited Benefit
• A 5K run/walk benefit to help the Prosser family financially will be held at the Riverview Park Activities Center in North Augusta on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.
• Tickets – Registration is $25, plus a fee for $2.37. Donations can be made online as of Friday morning and can be found at http://tinyurl.com/m4melre.