Ashley Mortensen, United States (US), New Jersey
I was born with an AVM, which is an extremely debilitating and disfiguring malformation located in the left side of my face. I have been receiving treatments for this since I was 9 years old and have had 69 surgeries to date with more to come. Through this process I had become disfigured, swollen, and unable to move half of my face. I suffer from chronic bleeds that typically result in blood transfusions, passing out, and emergency surgeries. I was able to gain some of my confidence back through reconstructive surgery. But what really keeps me going is fashion. I started my own clothing brand called Wishlist by Ashley Marion, where I design, pattern, and sew everything. This has been my creative outlet the past few years. Together with VBF, we host annual Fashion Show Fundraisers and put the proceeds towards AVM research.