As she recovered in the Intensive Care Unit, paralyzed from the waist down, Ashlie was a beam of positivity.
“She had so many visitors, she wanted to see people – she just wanted to focus on getting better and always talked about getting better,” said Tara. “She believed in positive thinking.”
Her passion for beauty didn’t waver, either – she had her nails painted and put her makeup on everyday.
“They nicknamed her the ‘Warrior Princess’ because she was so strong and so glamorous,” said Tara.
Although Ashlie’s cancer was still unknown at the time, she began a rigorous treatment of chemotherapy. Within a week her hair started to fall out, so Tara helped shave her head.
“I can remember Ashlie picking up her mirror and running her hand over her head and saying, ‘This is kind of badass,’” Tara recalled. “And she actually made it look awesome. She just owned it so much.”
By August, her vision started to go, she needed blood transfusions and oxygen.
But she was still the same “glamour girl,” asking for help with scalp treatments and skin care and complimenting the nurses on their nail colour as they administered her injections.
“She still found this passion and this love and this kindness to compliment other people,” said Tara. “She just genuinely loved to see other people taking care of themselves and having fun with makeup and beauty.”
On Wednesday Aug. 19, 2015, Tara visited Ashlie for the last time.
Four days later, on Aug. 23, Ashlie died in hospital.
JUST FOR STYLES
While Tara struggled with the loss of her best friend, she wanted to channel Ashlie’s positivity, so she created Just for Styles, a fundraising event in her memory that consists of a retail walk through Ashlie’s favourite neighbourhoods, Queen West and King West.