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Meet my Mentor: Ashley Dedmon, MPH, CHES!

Updated: May 4, 2022

So, Ashley is what I would call, a P.D.A. - Purpose Driven Author! She is an author with a purpose and a cause. She has appeared on local news stations, in the Women's Health Magazine, and has a Ted Talk (which you can view here: 🤩) Ashley is a passionate breast cancer prevention advocate, and has parlayed her passion for advocacy into her first book: The Big Discovery (available at Amazon). I wanted to take the moment to spotlight her and her author journey, since she has invested so much into me. And hopefully, her journey can encourage someone else. So here goes an interview I did with my mentor and friend, Ashley. Enjoy!

Tell us about your journey into authorship. I never thought I would write a book, let alone a children’s book. I am a mother, educator, and advocate and it was the marriage of the three that birthed The Big Discovery. That and being obedient and heeding to God’s voice and direction. Tell us about your book. The Big Discovery is an educational tool that helps families, especially children, navigate the difficult journey that breast cancer presents. The book’s foreword, or preface, was written by board-certified breast surgeon Sandra Templeton, M.D. of Houston Methodist Breast Surgery Partners. Why did you decide to write this book, and what were you hoping to accomplish with it? During the recovery from my preventative double mastectomy, I made the decision to write The Big Discovery. There were times I felt so helpless, trying to help my two-year-old understand why I couldn’t hold her or pick her up. It reminded me of when my mother was sick and how she felt trying to explain her cancer journey with me. I also reflected on my time as a teacher when I found that students who faced difficult life challenges needed someone to explain things to them in a way they could understand. Are there any other books that talk about this topic?

There are less than a dozen books that I identified during my fact-finding mission that talk about this topic. But, what makes my book different is that the readers can identify themselves in the [diverse] characters. The Big Discovery includes sections on early detection, testing and the diagnosis of breast cancer, as well as inspiring stories from survivors and open-ended questions to help prompt discussions with children. What's next for you in your journey as an author? I have a series of 12 books that I would like to write. I have two manuscripts in the pipeline and the outlines for the others. My goal is to build and spread awareness. What do you wish you knew when you embarked on this journey? Patience. Patience with the process and patience with myself. Writing a book is an incredible journey. Don’t rush though it. Enjoy it. What has been the hardest part of your journey?

The hardest part was trusting and enjoying the process. Authorship is a beautiful thing and I had to get out of my own way.

What has been the easiest part of your journey?

Nothing was easy per se, but I have enjoyed the journey and will do it again! Book #2! Do you have an author inspiration?

Priscilla Shirer. Did you have an author mentor?

Jay Barnett. Any advice for inspiring authors? Speak Your Truth!

You can keep up with Ashley Dedmon on Instagram at @mrsdedmon22.

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