Ashley Gardner is Ron’s daughter. You might recognize her from the registration table at our annual event. Since Ron first started the foundation, she has taken on a behind-the-scenes, administrative role within RAHF. She was recently given the opportunity to join the board as the new Executive Director and jumped at the chance.
Ashley earned a B.S. in Biology from Radford University in 2007 after just three years of study. After graduation, she moved to Memphis and began working as a Research Technologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This is where Ashley came across an organization called Volunteer MidSouth, which really sparked her love of community service. Through that organization, Ashley volunteered in soup kitchens, helped run craft night for the kids at the local homeless shelter, and served as a “Big Sister” to a child in a group home. She also volunteered at St. Jude doing arts and crafts with the patients and their families staying in the Ronald McDonald, Memphis Grizzlies, and Target Houses and spent her Saturday nights playing board games with the children and holding/feeding babies on the Bone Marrow Transplant unit.
Through all of these experiences, Ashley discovered that to feel truly happy and fulfilled, she wanted to pursue a career that would help people. In 2010, Ashley returned to school at the Duke University School of Nursing and earned her BSN in 2011. She began working as a staff nurse at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC on their Hematology / Oncology / Bone Marrow Transplant unit. She still currently works their “per diem,” in addition to her job as a School Nurse in the local school system.
Ashley married her husband Chris in 2012, who she met at an event for the local fire department where she volunteered as a teenager, and where her husband currently serves as a Fire Lieutenant. Since then they have welcomed two daughters, Ava and Annabel. They reside in Spotsylvania, Virginia in lakeside community.