category: Alumni

New book by C-N alumna tells story of real-life superhero

Many have a favorite superhero. There’s something about such figures with incredible strength, courage and the ability to do what most feel they cannot. Iron man, Wonder Woman, Hulk, Flash, Ms. Marvel – all are favorites.

Abby Dalton, also has a favorite superhero – one who is maybe lesser known, but no less amazing. In fact, her hero is the subject of Abby’s upcoming book: “Ashley the Superhero.”

A children’s book slated to release April 25, “Ashley the Superhero” is the story of Abby’s sister, Ashley Elizabeth Reynolds, and her battle with a rare autoimmune disease. Ashley passed away in 2022 at the age of 34.

“When she was diagnosed, she was ten,” said Abby, a 2019 Carson-Newman University alumna, who teaches kindergarten at Morristown’s Cornerstone Christian Academy. “They told my mom that she had basically a year to live because everything was just so rapid with her disease.” That disease was “eosinophilic fasciitis,” a syndrome that affects tissue under the skin and over muscles.

“She lived in pain every single day, and no matter what she went through, she never wanted people to feel sorry for her,” reflected Abby. “She was always willing to help others. She loved hearing about other people and their stories. And so it just inspired me to keep her story going.”

Because of the message she wanted to share, Abby says she decided to tell Ashley’s story via a children’s book.

“I hope that kids who do have diseases and disabilities, that it gives them comfort in knowing that they’re not alone. I also hope that kids who don’t go through this, that it gives them empathy and sympathy for others.”

Abby says that it was always her sister’s wish to one day write a book about all the things she had been through. “It’s bittersweet,” she said, noting how things are coming full circle. “Even though she’s not here, her story is still going to be told.”

It’s a story of a true hero who left a lasting impact on others. “In my mind, Ashley’s bravery made her a superhero,” says Abby. “She will always be my hero.”

“Ashley the Superhero” is available for purchase on

Abby Dalton, a 2019 C-N alumna with her husband Jonathon, a 2013 C-N graduate, and son Eli.

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