In the face of tremendous loss, a family is making sure the memory of their little boy lives on. They are using his legacy of love to help others through an event this weekend: Asher's Walk.
Asher brought joy to everyone he met, but especially to his family.
"He was always happy and he always made other people happy when he was around them and he made me happy," said Asher's father Charlie Nichols.
"He would always come up to me and want me to pick him up so I would always pick him up," Asher's aunt Crissy Nichols remembered.
Asher had Down syndrome, cleft palate, lung problems and heart problems.
"Right after his heart surgery he came out and started playing with his toys like nothing even happened to him," Charlie Nichols said.
"I didn't see his disability. I saw him as a sweet loving child," his grandmother Betty Linville said.
Asher called her Maw Maw.
"That smile. You just wanted to squeeze him to death," she said.
"One of the best things that happened in my life was him being born, being around him. He taught me a lot. Caring and stuff. Just how much he loved everything," Charlie Nichols said.
Asher was three when he died on Sept. 28 , 2015
"He was always happy. Very loving to everybody. He always wanted to grab your face and hold on to your face," Charlie said.
Or in Charlie's case, his beard.
"He loved playing in my beard. He would always lay in it. Snuggle up in it and stuff like that," Charlie said.
Asher found comfort in his dad's beard.
A buddy in Charlie's Beard Club came up with a beard contest and also a walk honoring Asher to raise money for Down syndrome groups. They had one last year and are planning another one for this Saturday, June 17.
"His legacy is probably just to help other people. And this is our way of trying to help other people," Betty said.
"It's going to be a glow walk so when it gets kind of dark we're going to start walking and have all these glow sticks and things that light up," Charlie said.
Asher would have liked it.
"He always liked colors. Anything that was bright and colorful he enjoyed," Charlie said.
They're planning Asher's Walk even as they deal with another crisis. Asher's parents are living at an apartment in Pigeon Forge temporarily because their house burned down in the Gatlinburg fire.
"We just left with our clothes on our back. And then later on we had to drive through the fire. You had fire on both sides of you," Charlie said.
They lost many pictures of Asher and his clothes and his toys in the fire. But they kept their memories.
"There were a lot of good memories for those three years. We just wish we had more," Betty said.
They will make more memories at Asher's Walk.
"He's a little angel now in Heaven with wings and he is still looking down on us I think. And I think he wants us to still be happy even though he's not here," she said.
Asher's Walk is this Saturday at Mills Park in Gatlinburg. It starts at 6 p.m. because they're walking with glow sticks. All the proceeds go to the Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee.
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