When this mom’s teenage son passed away after a long illness, she was devastated. And she knew his funeral would be one of the most difficult days of her life. However, when a gang of burly bikers turned up to say their goodbyes, she found it strangely comforting.
Aubrey Ashley lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho. As a single mom she did everything for her two sons, Teegan and Cohen. Indeed, she would even do her job from the house sometimes so that she could be there for her children.
However, one of her kids had more needs than most. Her oldest boy, Teegan, was battling a disease known as propionic academia. Doctors first realized the youngster had the disorder when he was just an infant, and he’d been living with it ever since.
When Aubrey gave birth to Teegan in July 2002, doctors had no idea that the little baby didn’t have the enzymes needed to break down proteins. And so, unaware of his condition, the new mom began to feed him with bottle formula. However, in just one day, the protein in the milk caused irreversible damage to the little boy’s brain.
As he grew up, Teegan had to avoid protein at all costs. Unfortunately, this meant his muscles couldn’t develop and so he was unable to walk and talk. Nevertheless, his mother said he still had an incredible energy and love for life.
However, given the extremity of his disorder, Teegan had his up and downs. “So many times in his life when he would dip down really low and become very ill and he would just come back with a big smile on his face. He touched so many peoples’ hearts,” Aubrey told Inside Edition in May 2017.
But in 2017, Teegan’s condition began to deteriorate. And sadly, this time there would be no bouncing back for the teenager. “We just woke up and he was having a hard time [breathing],” Aubrey explained.
“He passed away here at home,” she told Inside Edition. “It was just his time.” Teegan died in his mother’s arms, devastating their entire family. He was just 14 at the time.
And so when Teegan’s funeral came around, Aubrey knew it was going to be an extremely difficult day. However, the arrival of some unexpected guests made her pain more easy to bear. Because as the distraught mom set off to the cemetery, a flank of motorcyclists escorted her vehicle.
The riders all belonged to local motorcycle groups. It turned out that members of Litas Idaho Falls, Bikers for Christ and the Grand Teton HOG Chapter wanted to bid Teegan farewell. Because, after hearing how much the teen loved motorcycles, they knew it would mean a lot to his family.
Indeed, in some ways, Teegan’s love for bikes was in his genes. Both his mom, Aubrey, Aubrey, and his dad had worked at the local Harley-Davidson dealership when he was young. And his father still works as a motorcycle mechanic over in Arizona.
The strangers’ gesture meant a great deal to Teegan’s grieving family. “A lot of people in the community knew him,” Aubrey told Inside Edition. “[Teegan] always had a love for bikes. I’m sure to feel that wind in your hair would be the best feeling for him.”
“He was kind of a wild child,” she added, remembering her late son’s personality with affection. “So, I’m sure it was just nice to hear that roar for him. I couldn’t have asked for a better honor.”
“It was so beautiful. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better honor for him,” Aubrey said. “He was such a beautiful person and I was just truly amazed at how many people did come out.”
It seemed even Teegan’s mother didn’t know just how many lives her son had touched. The teen attended Eagle Rock Junior High and according to the school’s obituary, “He always had a sparkle in his eyes.”
“He loved going to school with his friends, spending time with his family and friends,” the moving obituary continued. “Taking car rides with the wind in his face, rocking out to music, balloons and cheering on his favorite team, The Celtics. In Teegan’s 14 years, he touched many hearts and lives. He leaves us with a legacy for eternity.”
And Teegan’s legacy goes far beyond the warm memories of his friends and family. When his brother Cohen was born ten years after him, doctors found he too suffered from the exact same condition.
However, before Teegan died, he left little Cohen with the greatest gift. The studies the teen took part in when he was alive have changed the way doctors have treated his brother. And for that, Cohen will no doubt always be grateful.
Indeed, thanks to research made possible by his big brother, Cohen underwent a liver transplant at the tender age of nine months. And because Teegan has helped to increase awareness of the condition, Cohen now relies on medication much less than his brother.
What’s more, this knowledge is helping Aubrey get through her darkest of days. “I’m just happy that he’ll live on and be the strength to us and even after death,” she told Inside Edition. “He’s going to beautifully continue on and I’m proud of that.”