One steamy afternoon during training camp last summer, a day very much like today, the first team offense jogged to the sidelines after completing a session of 11-on-11 scrimmaging.
Ray Rice, looking rather beaten by the oppressive heat glanced up into the small grandstands set up at the Under Armour Performance Center for the 250 fans who were invited on that particular day.
There he spotted a familiar face.
He was a young, delicate and beautiful boy (pictured above at Stevenson University) who proudly wore Rice’s No. 27 jersey.
Rice shouted up to the young boy, “Don’t think I don’t see you up there!”
Shortly thereafter Ray made his way to the rope that separates the grandstand and the sideline area to say hello to the young boy and his entire family all sporting the same jersey. Rice held the boy, engaged in some small talk with the family, said his goodbyes and made his way back to the field.
That boy was Ashton Dean who was born with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) and is currently fighting this condition that his family first became aware of when he was only 6 months old. Ashton is now 8 years old.
Ashton has been in and out of hospitals probably more times than most adults have seen a doctor in their respective lifetimes. Yet his spirit barely wavers and his will to overcome one medical obstacle after the next is indomitable.
And Ashton’s family is right there with the spirited little fella!
The Dean’s are not a family of means. And while their insurance is said to be good, there are many expenses that are not covered – some of which are rather exorbitant.
Tonight at Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Dundalk, Ray Rice comes to the aid of his little buddy, as a guest bartender from 7PM to 10PM. Admission is $10 all of which will go to support the Dean family.
Around these parts we often hear the credo, “Play Like a Raven.” Ashton is amazingly inspirational and takes that credo to a new level.
We hope that you can join us tonight to celebrate Ashton and his A Team, support his ongoing battle, meet Ashton’s parents Betsy and Rich, get out of the heat while enjoying a cold beverage and Maryland’s Best Crab Cake (per Baltimore Magazine).