A standout on Mississippi College Lady Choctaws soccer and softball teams, Ashley Greenway also excelled in the classroom, and looked forward to helping save lives as a nurse.
Today, her teammates, friends and many others in the Mississippi College family are deeply saddened to learn the vibrant 20-year-old student died at a Jackson hospital.
Ashley became ill at her residence hall room on the Clinton campus Wednesday and was rushed by ambulance to Central Mississippi Medical Center’s emergency room. But the MC pre-nursing student from Southaven, Mississippi never responded to treatment. Presently, the cause of her death is unknown. An autopsy will be performed today.
There are plans for a memorial service on the Mississippi College campus later this month following her funeral, but arrangements are incomplete.
Vice President for Christian Development Eric Pratt spoke about Ashley’s accomplishments as a student-athlete to hundreds of undergraduates during chapel services this morning at First Baptist Church Clinton. He encouraged students to email and text their parents to express their love in light of her sudden passing.
“These are the times that stress us, but also remind us that we can only function through His strength,” Pratt said in an email Thursday to MC students, faculty and staff.
MC leaders offered their prayers to comfort family members and friends.
Life is a precious gift that can be gone in an instant. Mississippi College coaches, professors and Ashley’s many friends, from Clinton to her hometown south of Memphis, cannot believe the talented young Christian woman with the infectious smile is gone.
“Ashley was excited about entering nursing in the Spring of 2014,” said School of Nursing Dean Mary Jean Padgett.
The MC junior recently submitted her application and explained her interest in joining the profession. Ashley mentioned she was “raised in a family where everyone had some type of job in the medical field, particularly occupations that saved lives.”
In her essay, Ashley wrote “I feel I am destined to continue the family name in the medical field – I love helping people and changing lives.”
She helped change lives of her soccer and softball teammates in a positive way. Ashley was active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the Baptist-affiliated school. She posted one of her favorite Bible verses on her Facebook page Phillipians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Ashley regularly visited FCA weekly huddles to meet with other student-athletes and strengthen their faith. She spoke to the group one day about what she was thankful for.
“She had a great big smile and her face was so bright,” says Bethany Pigott, the FCA’s Mississippi College director for women’s sports. “She talked about how thankful she was for her roommate Anna Watkins and the influence Anna had on her.”
In addition, Ashley “talked about how she had given her life to the Lord and how she was going to get baptized and how she was excited that a lot of her teammates were going to watch as she declared her faith in Christ.”
That was the image flashing in Pigott’s mind yesterday when hearing the news about her death. “She was transformed from the inside out while here at MC and so many people invested in her life. She didn’t walk alone.”
As a member of the MC Lady Choctaws softball team for two years, Greenway started in 63 of the 74 games she played and batted an impressive .283. Her 2013 season average was .279 and included 11 stolen bases. The 5’5” softball player started 25 of the 36 games as a freshman.
A former Southaven Lady Charger softball MVP and two-time all-metro player, Ashley also was a valuable member of the Lady Choctaws soccer team.
Darryl Longabaugh, MC’s head women’s soccer coach, said he was impressed with her ability to balance the books as a pre-nursing student, while playing two sports. “She was really coming on at the end of last year, and we were expecting her to pick up where she left off. I enjoyed her desire to play the game. She was ready every time we called her name.”
This afternoon, the MC Lady Choctaws face Delta State at Longabaugh Field, and thoughts of Ashley will be on the minds of her teammates.
Lady Choctaws soccer teammates loved the way Ashley would always remember everybody’s birthday, Longabaugh said. “Her smile was infectious.”
Greenway’s former Southaven High classmates mourned her loss. “Ashley has always been the most ambitious person I’ve ever known,” said 20-year old MC student Lacie Patterson. “She has a heart of gold. She worked hard in everything she did which resulted in her being top notch on the field and in the classroom. She has touched the lives of so many people during her short time on earth.” Ashley and Lacie have been playing softball together since they were five-year olds. “The world may have lost a wonderful soul, but God gained a beautiful angel!”
Others commented on the MC student’s Facebook page. “You carried such a wonderful spirit on and off the field,” wrote Cynthia Marquez. “It was an absolute honor to be your teammate throughout the years. You’ll be forever missed.”
MC leaders are encouraging students, faculty and staff members needing assistance during this time of grief to visit the university’s counseling center at Alumni Hall or call 601.925.7790.
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