“Life has taught me that you can’t stress the small things.
If all else fails, laugh. Love your life and appreciate
what you have, and give to those that don’t have anything”


As told by Ashley’s mother, Kathy Burgauer

When Ashley was first diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, she was only 17 years old.  She was a patient at Riley Children’s Hospital.  All of her time at Riley lead her to a career as a nurse where she could help care for others.

Ashley Burgauer, 27, was a registered nurse, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and a beautiful friend to many, who’s life suddenly ended one Thursday afternoon to a disease we had never heard of.

Ashley’s immune system was weak, but she always overcame any virus that came along. Ten months before Ashley died, she started to get sick on a regular basis, with viruses that a healthy person could fight off. She continued to stay strong in spirit and mind, trying to deal with never feeling good and being tired all the time, with regular visits to her doctor. She had complained of abdominal pain which her GI doctor thought could be an ulcer flaring up. He ordered up an endoscopy for the next week. That endoscopy never took place as she died two days later.

Ashley had stopped over with her dog to visit us on that Thursday morning to make plans for Labor Day weekend. My husband and I had plans to be out of town that day, and when we left, we told her goodbye and that we would see her later that afternoon. When we got home, however, her car was still in our driveway. We thought she was taking a nap which was not unusual for her to do. Much to my horror, I found her unresponsive in our bed. She was taken to the hospital by the EMS and pronounced dead.

Ashley was a sweet and tender soul.  She loved the small and simple things in life, like spending time with family and friends at the lake house, laughing, helping people, tree frogs, arts, crafts, and she absolutely adored her dog, Maddux. It was her own life lessons and health struggles combined with her passion and dedication to helping others that led her to a career in nursing.

Nine weeks after her passing, the autopsy reported she had died from Myocarditis. Our world as we knew it has changed, but my desire to make people aware of this disease has become a passion of mine.

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