Ashton is a history buff. He loves the works of Homer, Plato and Ovid. He is a student of ancient Roman history, most interested in the days of Remus, Romulus and Caesar.
That is probably why, when he was 16 and diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, he turned to the classics to keep his mind sharp during the long days of treatment or the nights in the hospital.
Ashton used those lessons in culture, community and civilization to get him through the worst of his days. And then, he used those same interests to plan the best of his days, a wish trip to Rome.
“I wanted something that was going to be memorable, something that would be like all of the things I learned coming to life,” said Ashton when asked why he decided a trip to Rome was his one true wish. “So many of the great works were written in Rome, I wanted to see where history was made.”
Ashton did see history in person. He stood on the steps of the Roman Senate, where speeches were made, kings were overthrown and republics were crafted. He did a tour of the Colosseum, one of the most imposing ancient structures in the city.
“You can’t understand how big things are, how they came to be, until you get there and see it in person,” said Ashton. “It’s incredible. It’s a reminder that there is a future for everything and that things can endure and can get better.”
Ashton also experienced the Italian culture, which included taking his time and yet being in constant motion.
“Everyone is walking everywhere,” he said. “Yet, when you sit at a restaurant, you could sit there all day and they wouldn't care.”
Finally, as a special perk that wasn't on his itinerary, Make-A-Wish Arizona worked with the general manager of Lamborghini of Scottsdale, Beli Merdovic, to pull a few strings. Beli was able to work with the Italian office, allowing Ashton to ride in a Lamborghini Aventador, a car with the power of a stealth bomber and the iconic scissor door design.
“It was the most memorable part of my trip,” says the boy who originally thought only of the classics. “Getting to ride in my dream car, as fast as they would go, was a total surprise. It was so over the top. It was amazing.”
And that is what a wish is all about – an experience that is over the top amazing!