KENNEBUNK – Two months ago, 18-year-old Ashley Dubois was lying in a hospital bed, clinging to life after suffering injuries in a car crash on Cat Mousam Road.

On Sunday, with the help of a metal walker, Dubois led a group of about 350 people on the first steps of a walk to raise money to help with her medical expenses. The student-organized event, “Walk for Ashley, walk for hope” raised an estimated $17,000.

“I feel very happy and grateful,” Dubois, a Kennebunk High School senior, said after the walk. “I feel so loved.”

Teddy Nichols, 18, a well-known senior and athlete at Kennebunk High School, organized the 1.6-mile walk between the school, downtown Kennebunk and back. Nichols went door-to-door to businesses in the community to garner support for his cause. He received several cash donations and items for a raffle. He said the event helped bring their school and the community together.

“It was a remarkable day,” Nichols said. “It was indescribable to see that many people come out to support a girl who has so much hope, passion and strength. Thank you to everyone. It was such an amazing day.”

The idea for the walk came from Cherish Stewart, 19, who has been friends with Dubois since third grade.

“I’m so happy,” Stewart said. “It’s a great feeling to have all these people show up for her. We did it.”

Many students and alumni from Kennebunk High School participated in the walk. Among them was Stephanie Benner, 20, a 2009 graduate. She said she walked to show her support for Dubois and her family.

“She’s made it really far,” Benner said. “It’s nice to see that she’s hopeful and that her family is right behind her, caring for her and loving her.”

Also walking was Lexie Perry, 16, a junior at the school, who took dance lessons with Dubois years ago.

“She’s a good girl,” Perry said. “I’m happy everyone is here for her.”

Chelsea Cardner, 16, a junior, volunteered at the raffle table.

“It’s awesome,” Cardner said during the walk. “It’s a small town and everyone knows everyone. We come together in times like this. Seeing her walk here was kind of crazy. The doctor told her she wouldn’t walk.”

News of the Sept. 4 accident rocked the close-knit community.

Dubois was driving a 1991 Honda Accord on Cat Mousam Road in Kennebunk when her vehicle was struck by an oncoming car.

Dubois was ejected through the driver’s side window and landed in the road, suffering life-threatening injuries.

Dubois’ heart stopped twice after the accident. She had a head injury, a broken pelvis and hip, a broken jaw, fractured ribs, a shattered spleen, and lacerated kidneys and pancreas.

Among those attending Sunday’s walk were Alechia Maguire and Josh Grzyb of the Kennebunk Fire and Rescue Department, who treated Dubois after the accident. Grzyb’s eyes welled up with tears after seeing Dubois. He said hers was one of the worst accidents he had ever seen.

“The first thing we saw was a crumbled body in the road, and it ended up being Ashley,” Grzyb said. “We thought there was no chance. What we had to do to keep her alive on the way to the hospital it’s one of the most amazing success stories this town has ever seen.”

Dubois spent 39 days at Maine Medical Center in Portland recovering from her injuries. She was discharged on Oct. 12. She still needs at least a year of rehabilitation, along with physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Dubois returned to school Nov. 1.

Her mother, Charlene Dubois, said Ashley has exceeded her health care benefits for rehabilitation. Charlene Dubois applied for MaineCare, but was denied.

She is appealing the state’s decision.

Charlene Dubois said she’s grateful for the support her daughter has received from the community.

“We can’t believe how much this community has done for her,” she said. “It’s really amazing. The little thing has been through hell, but she is tough. She is a fighter.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]