4 Paws for Fozzy: A Mother’s Journey

By Leslie Moore

When something needs to be done, Mom usually does it. Moms go the distance, no matter what the personal cost. Ashli Ambrose is a self proclaimed “homebody,” enjoying nothing more than her time at home caring for her husband and two children, Layla and Fozzy. Putting herself “out there” was not in the plan. Ashli and her husband, Brian, moved to the area from Chicago when Brian accepted a job locally. They have no family here, but have made some good friends in their small neighborhood in Conway where most of the residents are also transplants from across the country.

When Fozzy, Ashli’s youngest, was a year old, she and Brian noticed he wasn’t achieving milestones. Six months later, she saw a specialist at MUSC, and the doctors immediately found the problem: Fozzy had a tethered spinal cord and because of that, a part of his spinal cord didn’t develop properly. “Fozzy had surgery on his spinal cord which alleviated the pressure, but spinal tissue does not regenerate. The good news is we saw the neurosurgeon last month and there have been some positive changes!” Fozzy’s spinal cord was shaped somewhat like an hourglass, and no messages were getting through. Since the surgery, while he still doesn’t have the use of his legs, he is aware if something touches him.

Once Ashli and her family processed this news, the next step was to make life as good as possible for Fozzy. By the time he was two, he had been fitted for a wheelchair, giving the toddler much more mobility. But that wasn’t enough for Ashli. “We found a non-profit, 4 Paws for Ability that places service dogs with young children. Your dog is trained specifically for your child’s needs,” Ashli began. “Fozzy’s dog will help him with his day-to-day life, retrieving dropped items, opening doors, eventually helping him to stand and more.”

But, the specialized training required for these dogs is high – $40,000. And the non-profit requires each family to raise $17,000 toward the cost. But Ashli is determined to make it happen. This shy young mother has called every media outlet she could think of, organized bake sales and even convinced the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to help. At a recent game, a portion of the ticket sales were donated to 4 Paws for Ability and Fozzy was given the opportunity to throw the first pitch!

Currently the Ambrose family is within a few thousand dollars of their goal. Ashli moved out of her comfort zone to help her son – and it is working. “My grandma told me if someone had just given us the money, I wouldn’t have met all of these wonderful people and had so many great experiences. She’s right, and we have been so unbelievably blessed.”

Ashli was also able to get Fozzy involved with the Grand Strand Surfrider Foundation, where Fozzy became an adaptive surfer! And the organization has helped promote Ashli’s 4 Pawleys for Ability fundraisers.

With good medical care and as much help as Ashli can find, Fozzy has a promising future. There is new technology that helps people with limited mobility that Ashli learned about during a recent visit to MUSC. These special braces with the help of a robot, could give Fozzy the ability to walk. “The braces cost $30,000, but I’m going to work hard to raise the money. This technology could change his life.”

If you’d like to help Fozzy receive his service dog, please donate at https://www.gofundme.com/FozzyBear. To learn more about Fozzy, visit the family’s FB page, Fozzy Bear.

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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2 Responses to “4 Paws for Fozzy: A Mother’s Journey”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    Bless this family. This is a feel good story and one of love.

  2. Ashli, fozzy’s mom says:

    Thank you 🙏🏼 this is so special 🥰

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