by Josh Ault
Ashley Delanney was born three months premature. "From my first year of birth to my third year of life, I had oxygen to keep me alive," she said. This caused Ashley to become visually impaired. She always knew she was different. Ashley said, "I remember asking my grandfather, I wish I could see. Its not fair. He told me, 'It is fair you can't see because you are special; that's your mission in life - to be special and help others.'"
Ashley is now 20 years old and a freshman at SFA. She was raised by her grandparents and has one younger brother. Her grandfather made sure she left her hometown of Santa Fe, Texas for college. "He said, 'you need to get out in the real world and learn what it is like,'" she said.
Ashley says college has been a big change, and that her professors don't have much mercy on her just because of her disabilities. Ashley has a huge support system at church and school. Her friend, Abby Ault, said, "She's very loving towards others and loves to help out."
A big help in Ashley's life came in 2006. She was given a seeing eye dog named Image. Image helps her cross streets and miss curbs.
Ashley hopes other SFA students will treat her the same. "I'm just like them and don't shy away from me or my guide, just come say hi," she says.