L-R: Corbett Fong (Ashton’s fiancée), Ashton Smith, Gavin Smith, Lisa Smith, and Jason Smith at the 2023 JDRF Ride in Amelia Island
Ashton Smith doesn’t live with type 1 diabetes (T1D), but the JDRF Ride is close to her heart. Two of her loved ones live with T1D: her brother, Gavin, who was diagnosed almost 20 years ago, and her cousin, Sidney, who was diagnosed recently. That’s why Ashton is a proud member of the JDRF Ride family.
Ashton’s involvement with JDRF Ride started on the sidelines. “My brother and dad did the 2018 Ride in Amelia Island,” she said. “As a supporter, I saw the love and passion from other riders and how it brought so many people in the T1D community together.”
The following year, Ashton joined her family as a rider and fell in love with it. Since then, she has pedaled nearly 500 miles for JDRF.
Beyond the Bikes
Ashton doesn’t just ride with JDRF—she strives to get involved however she can. While in college at Louisiana State University, she helped with the Baton Rouge Gala. During a brief stint in Indiana, she connected with the local Ride team. Currently, in Houston, Ashton is helping to rebuild the Young Leadership Committee program and volunteers at the Gala. “I believe my involvement helps spread the word about T1D,” she said. “The more we talk about it, the more people learn about what people like my brother and cousin have to endure every day.”
The Power of Support
Ashton is already looking forward to next year’s Ride, where she will serve as a JDRF Ride coach alongside her dad, Jason. She’s excited to show how Ride is an impactful program for all generations. “My hope is that people with T1D feel encouraged and supported,” she said. “I don’t think there are too many things more powerful than that.”
The 2024 JDRF Ride dates have been announced! Registration will open at ride.jdrf.org on Thursday, February 1, at 12:00 p.m. ET. Where will you Ride Forward in 2024?