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Ashford and his wife Christina have two daughters Grace, now eight, and Emma, three. Emma's eye cancer, retinoblastoma, is not in remission but "in regression," says her dad. "She has cancer in every cell of her body, but it cannot be found at this time. She has regular check-ups and MRIs."

Emma's illness has brought Ashford and his wife closer. "It's been intense. We determined early on that things would be different. Even in a Christmas card we sent, there's a white reflection in Emma's eye that's indicative of her illness. We pointed out that if parents see this reflection in photos of their own children or others, it could be a sign of a problem and they need to check it out."

The personal stress has been high. "There are times that it's been very hard for me to get up and get to an audition. I wonder, 'What does any of this really mean?' It was ironic that before I left DAYS," he recalls, "I was playing out a storyline involving my screen daughter Abigail's illness, holding the baby and saying, 'You're going to get through this." Then I had a baby going through chemotherapy."

The Ashfords work closely with Hunter and Michael Tylo, who have a child with the same cancer. "The age at which there's detection of the disease has dropped from 18 months to nearly one year. I feel very good about SOU 3/01 J&J at the Coronationthat," says Ashford.

Through the ordeal, Ashford has learned that "I deal really well with terrible situations, but I'm not good at all things like getting lost. Then I get frustrated and upset. When things get really bad, I don't fall apart. I don't cry. Like many men, I find it difficult to open in that way. We had counseling and talked about those things. I'm sure I'm a different person because of this. I realize now that everyone has difficult and tragic situations in their lives. Most people are dealing with, or have dealt with, or are within a heartbeat of dealing with a tragedy."

The Ashfords are involved with raising funds for research and early detection. More information is available through these websites: (Retinoblastoma International) (Families of Blind Children)

Revisiting DAYS Gone By


From the that spawned the "supercouple," DAYS OF OUR LIVES proved once again that it is — by far — the master of this M&m, J&J meet at the ballaspect of daytime genre in the moments leading up to the fateful reunion of one of its most beloved dynamic duos, Jack and Jennifer. Although others have stepped inot their shoes, it is the performances of Matthew Ashford and Melissa Reeves that made the audience love this quirky and unpredictable couple. Days capitalized upon the magical bond between the twosome and smartly utilized flashbacks, reminding the audience of the many memorable moments that these two have shared through the years.

As the perfect comedic setup before they laid eyes on each other, Jennifer's plane was held up in order for Alice to deliver a letter from Jack to her. Before she even opened it, Jennifer recalled the various events of their life together, such as working together at The Spectator, Jack's hilarious proposal dressed as Santa Claus and their wacky wedding at the Wild West Arena.

What a treat for fans to have a few minutes to relive the magic of this special couple and be filled with anticipation for the fireworks their emotional encounters are sure to bring in the future.

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