Monday, June 14, 2010

Getting to Know You, Part 2

Posted By: Kim Sterritt

As promised, please enjoy getting to know MIGHTY Michelle Ashcraft!

Michelle Ashcraft

Location: Lexington, KY

Are you a NEW New Kid or a New Kid With Experience?
NEW New Kid!

What made you decide to take the plunge and sign up for the 2010 3 Day?

After reading the weekly NKOTW blog last year and then seeing all of the TV commercials advertising the 3-Day for the Cure, a voice started popping up in the back of my mind saying, "Get out there and go for it!" One night I was sitting on my couch reflecting on a stressful day and wondering what sort of impact I was making on the world, and I got the sudden urge to do something bigger than myself. A few days later after some researching I called Jenn to tell her I was taking the plunge and asked if I could join NKOTW ... now here I am!

How did you get suckered into joining, I mean, get connected with Team New Kids?
I was absolutely inspired by Team New Kids on the Walk last year, especially by Jenn Latino. Jenn and I became very close when I worked for her as a graduate assistant, and we continue to remain close now that I am in my first job. Her blog posts were often the highlight of my week throughout her training schedule, and it was very inspirational to see not only the positive impact that NKOTW had on finding the cure, but also to see the impact the training and walk had on the team. I was proud to call those of you that I knew my friends and colleagues! About halfway through your training I secretly decided that I wanted to do the 3-Day this year. Now that I have committed, I only hope that I can motivate even one of my friends, family members, or colleagues in the way that NKOTW 2009 motivated me.

What is your favorite snack?

I've never been much of a snacker, but I am a sucker for fruit. I could eat grapes or strawberries until I get sick. However, my one guilty (and no so healthy) obsession is chips and queso - particularly from Moe's. YUMMO! (At least the training will help me walk off those terrible calories!)

What is your favorite walking/workout jam (song)?
Yikes, that is tough! Anyone that knows me knows that I am a music LOVER, and it is HARD for me to pick any favorites. My tastes will probably change multiple times throughout training, but right now I'd have to say Don't Stop Believin' by Journey. That song holds a special place in my heart for numerous reasons, most recently in honor of my friend James. The title alone will probably get me through some training challenges along the way.

Fundraising for the 3-Day walk is challenging. What is your strategy?

First off: Birthday Challenge! I was shocked at how easy it was to raise my first $450 by simply asking on Facebook for people to donate $25 in honor of my $25 birthday. Other strategies in the pipeline include: letters to close friends and family; a weekly blog during training sent out via e-mail to friends, family, and colleagues; change collection cans at many local businesses in my hometown; letters to businesses/business leaders in Lexington and Seymour; auctioning off some of the quilts I've made; and donating the money I raise from my family's annual garage sale.

What are you plans for training?
I honestly still don't know what to expect, but I do know that I'm taking Latino's advice and sticking to the schedule! I'm typically a rule follower, so I will do what the training schedule tells me to do. For the shorter walks in the beginning I'll likely spend a lot of time on the walking trail in my subdivision. For the longer walks, I'll have to scout out some trails or parks in Lexington, as well as Seymour and West Lafayette (where I spend a lot of my time). I still don't know a lot of folks in Lexington, but would love if I could find a buddy for some of the walks - I don't think Brinker (my miniature Yorkie) will make it too far with me!

Why do you walk? What inspires you?

I think my motto for this journey will be "One for All." In terms of breast cancer, I walk in honor of my pseudo-grandmother Bernie Bowman. However, I am walking for a greater good in memory of all of the friends, family members, and colleagues I have lost to various cancers, and in honor of those still fighting their battles. My extended family, like many others, is plagued with cancers - even some of the rarest types. One of my best friends became an angel too soon 2 years ago due to leukemia. So I'm walking in hopes of "one for all" - a belief that if we find a cure for breast cancer (ONE), it will lead to a cure for ALL cancers.

What is your biggest fear regarding the 3 Day?

Pre-3-Day, I am most nervous about fundraising. I can handle the training, but it's hard to ask people for money, especially in these times. But, I'm off to a good start, and am pretty sure I can count on my great family, friends, and colleagues to help me reach my goal. For the actually 3-Day event, I am most nervous about my little legs. Yep ... it's the one time that I've been slightly afraid of my size. At 4'11", I don't have the stride that my teammates and fellow walkers will have, and I worry about my ability to keep up with the pack (I have to take several more steps to equal 1 step many others take). I know that the 3-Day is not a race, I know that I don't have to stay with my team, and I know that there's an awesome award for the last walker that comes in each day ... but I have to admit, I am still a little nervous.

Tell us a little more about yourself!
"I was born in a small town ..." Yep, I am from Seymour, IN - the hometown of both rockstar John Mellencamp and 2009 Miss America Katie Stam. I went to Purdue University for college to pursue chemical engineering, but changed my major to Organizational Leadership & Supervision when I feel in love with orientation and decided I wanted to go into student affairs (if I could have majored in Boiler Gold Rush, I would have!). Post-Purdue I moved to Columbia, SC to join the higher education and student affairs (HESA) program at the University of South Carolina, where I spent 2 of the best years of my life working for University 101 programs with NKOTW teammate Jenn Latino. (It is through her that I met other teammates Katie, Kim, and Meredith.) Somehow I got lucky in my third semester of grad school and landed my dream job, and now work at the University of Kentucky as an assistant director in the Office of New Student and Parent Programs. I am an alumna of the Alpha Chapter of Phi Sigma Rho, and currently serve as the VP of Chapter Affairs for the Alpha Corporation of Phi Sigma Rho. It's pretty much a second full-time job, but I am proud to say that current Purdue PSR members will move into their new home in August 2010. I've recently learned to quilt, love to paint and read when I get the time, and like to work on my house when I can solicit help from my dad!

If you had dinner with Nancy Brinker, the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, what would you say to her or ask her?

Well since this question doesn't limit me to 1 comment or question, I would ask 2 questions - 1 serious and 1 funny. For the serious question, I would ask her how she stays motivated, positive, and hopeful until we find a cure - something powerful has obviously kept her going for this long. For the funny question, I would ask her what the best shirt/slogan she has seen thus far in the history of Race for the Cure and 3-Day for the Cure (Latino told me about some pretty clever ones last year!).

Please feel free to add anything else you’d like to share about yourself or the 3-Day.
I am thrilled and honored to be a member of NKOTW. I can't wait to walk with everyone in October!

Michelle is NEARLY at her fundraising goal! Help her hit her $2300 mark by clicking here!

Up next week: Katie Baioni!


  1. Michelle, Your little legs will be fine!! Kim is the tallest member of our team and you are the shortest. Maybe we can tie the two of you together to make sure that no one gets left behind!

  2. I love me some MAshcraft!!!