Friends of the late Ashley Atherley are rallying to help her family care for her two daughters.
Authorities found the 28-year-old, who grew up in Valrico and graduated from Bloomingdale High, in her California home Dec. 1 stabbed to death. Her husband, Edly, has been charged with murder.
After learning of the slaying of her longtime friend, whom she met playing the popular game Bunco, Valrico resident Andrea Derenthal stepped forward and started organizing a fundraising event for the two young daughters whom Ashley left behind.
A "Justice for Ashley Bunco Night" will be held March 30 at the Brandon Elks Lodge, at 800 Centennial Lodge Drive. Doors open at 3 p.m., and games begin shortly after. Light refreshments will be served.
Tickets are $25, and proceeds will help Ashley's parents care for the little girls and pay for court costs associated with an expected custody battle.
Derenthal also hopes to raise awareness about domestic violence and to educate women about the resources available in this community for victims of domestic violence.
"After I heard about what happened to her, I was fueled to come up with a way to help these kids and a way to tell other women just like Ashley that they are not alone and that there is help."
For information about the Bunco night and sponsorships, contact Andrea Derenthal at (813) 390-9264 or [email protected]
Meanwhile, a Brandon squad is slated to compete in the Nfinity Champions League, the first national all-star cheerleading competition to be featured in theaters nationwide in April four days after the battle in Atlanta. If the squad wins, the Ashley Atherley Fund will be the charity of its choice.