At 17 years old, Ashton Flasco is battling stage 4 breast cancer.
Metastatic breast cancer.
The started-in-her-breast, traveled-to-her-spine-and-hip kind of cancer that can ravage a persons spirit... let alone their body.
And she is undaunted.
"I'm glad it's happening to me," Ashton says. "Because what if it would've happened to someone else, or what if it would've happened to someone younger than me. I don't know, I feel like I can deal with it, and it's not as bad as it seems."
Ashton has been battling breast cancer since her diagnosis in December. She found a lump in August, but was told by doctors that it wasn't likely cancerous. When she went back months later, it had doubled in size.
Just two weeks later, it was removed.
Since then, the support from her Arlington Lamar tennis teammates, and the community as a whole, has been overwhelming. Her coach, Courtney Monroe, organized a silent auction, raising thousands thanks to donations from the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Mavericks, the Dallas Stars, the Texas Rangers, local colleges, local dentists, and more. A gofundme account was set up and continues to grow. The support, frankly, does not stop.
Because everyone knows what Ashton is facing.
"You kinda know it's gonna be a bad day when you sit down with the surgeon, and she's gonna give her results," Ashton's father Dan explains, "and as soon as she comes in and sits down, she starts crying."
But the bounce in Ashton's step, and the laughter in her voice, never leaves. Even the morning her parents told her she had cancer.
"When she got up to get ready for school, we had to tell her," her mom Teresita recounts. "And, she's so funny, her first reaction was 'I don't have to go to school!'"
"Having a diagnosis of cancer is kind of like walking through with a shadow next to you," Ashton's oncologist, Dr. Lea Krekow says. "And some can let that shadow consume them, and they can't function on a day-in, day-out basis. And others can be aware that it's there, but they go on and live their life."
No doubt -- Ashton is the latter.
"Positivity just runs in her veins. It's just amazing," Teresita says. "We get ready to go places, and she'll look at me and wink, like 'I'm a big girl. I can take it.' And I'm like 'I know you are,' but she's still my little girl."
That won't change. And neither will the laugh that is the soundtrack of Ashton's life.
"I've been telling myself that this is happening. For some reason. You may never know why this is happening, but it is," Ashton says. "It's a one-in-a-million chance that this could have happened. Maybe I'll get a one-in-a-million chance to do something great in life."