Ashlee passed away Aug. 10th, 2010 following an injury accident doing what she loved. Most peope go through life never having taken the chance. 



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For those of you who didn't know Ashlee Sokalski, she was a 19 year old from Chesterfield, Mi. Ashlee always believed in living life to the fullest. She started riding bikes at a very early age and began racing dirt bikes at age 12. Ashlee was a natural born athlete, from setting records in womens hurdles to playing college basketball. She was pursuing her dream of becoming a pro women's motocross racer while competing in a national event at Loretta Lynn's ranch in Tenn. During her second moto she crashed, she later died from her injuries at Vanderbilt trauma center on Aug. 10th, 2010. Ashlee had a true passion for life and motocross, she was an inspiration for her family and friends and to the motocross community. Forever in our hearts #316

Ashlee Sokalski passes away due to injuries after Motocross crash

The family of 19 year-old motocross rider Ashlee Sokalski made the difficult decision last night to pull Ashlee from life support after doctors told them there was nothing further they could do to save her.

Ashlee was competing in her second race at the 29th Annual AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship in Hurricane Mills, TN when she came down after a jump and was thrown from her motorcycle, which ended up bouncing back and landing on top of her.

Doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in nearby Nashville, did everything they could to help the young lady, who was the fastest woman competing from her home state of Michigan. Early Tuesday morning, Ashlee’s kidneys failed and her condition continued to deteriorate through the day.

Fundraising efforts will continue to aid the family through this difficult time. Donations efforts and memorial events continue to be announced on Ashlee’s webpage.

The family has not yet announced funeral arrangements for Ashlee.


  • Ashlee Sokalski of Chesterfield Township recently became the only female in the state to qualify for the 29th Annual AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships, the largest amateur motocross race in the world. The 19-year-old racer competed against more than 20,000 people from across the nation before earning one of 1,386 qualifying positions. “I’m excited because it’s my first year going to nationals and I’m ready to do good,” Sokalski said. The races will be held Aug. 2-7, and Sokalski is preparing to travel to country music singer Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., which has been the annual location of the championships since 1982. "The Amateur Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s is the event every motocross racer in the country wants to compete in," said Tim Cotter, event director. "A win at the Amateur Nationals gives a rider instant national notoriety and can serve as a springboard to a lucrative professional motocross career." Sokalski, who has been racing since she was 12 years old, said that she wants to do well in the championships with the hopes of going pro. “I’m working my butt off saving money, and hopefully I can put it all together and apply for my pro card,” she said. “It’s a lot of work–you have to ride a lot, train and make sure you’re in shape.” She’s never been to Tennessee, but said that she is preparing to handle the heat. “I hear it’s really hot and gets up to 110 degrees, so I’ve been riding with a hoodie and sweatpants trying to get myself ready,” she explained. The course that Sokalski will race on contains a variety of jumps, corners and other obstacles designed to test the skills and stamina of racers. She’ll travel to the championships with her family, who have supported her and helped her get to where she is today. “I would like to thank my mom, dad and mechanic, Michelle, for all of their support,” she said.
  • Ashlee Sokalski View and purchase photos By Lisa Gervais, Assistant Editor Nearly a week after a wreck that left her in serious condition, 19-year-old motocross racer Ashlee Sokalski died. Family members chose to take the Chesterfield native off life support 8:30 p.m. Tuesday after doctors at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, Tenn. informed them there was nothing else they could do to save Sokalski. “She held on for so long,” Sokalski’s mother Tanya Burgess said. “She was waiting for (her sister) Amanda to get back on a plane and get here. I just kept telling her ‘She’s coming, she’s coming.’” The L’Anse Creuse North graduate had been racing at the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships Aug. 5 at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. when she crashed while completing a jump on the track. Family members think her brakes locked up in mid-air, throwing her from her bike. When she landed, the bike landed on her. She had a series of injuries, including six broken ribs, injuries to her right lung and closed head injuries. Due to stormy weather, medical personnel were unable to airlift her to hospital and instead she was taken by ambulance first to a smaller hospital in Tennessee and then to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville where she was cared for in their trauma center. Tuesday evening, the family had been told the outlook wasn’t good for Sokalski. “They had told us a few hours before that the ventilator was at the highest settings and she continued to decline,” Burgess said. “There wasn’t anything more that they could do.” Burgess said, in the end, Sokalski was surrounded by her family, including sisters Amanda 17, and Adrianna, 12; and 7-month-old brother Chance. She said the support the family has seen since the accident is tremendous. “For 19, I can’t believe the effect she had on so many people’s lives across the country,” Burgess said. “She was such a good girl.” Viewing arrangements are tentatively planned for Saturday at Wujek-Calcaterra and Sons Funeral Home in Sterling Heights. A service and burial is tentatively planned for Monday at Christian Memorial in Rochester Hills.
  • Macomb Township Chronicle (MI) Teenage motocross racer dies Friends and family ride in her memory KRISTA BROWNING AND SARA KANDEL C & G Staff Writers Published: September 2, 2010 CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP - She was a motocross fanatic with dreams of becoming a professional rider, but what her sister will miss most is their long talks in the family garage, shopping trips to Walmart and her passion to live life to the fullest. "She was really crazy," said Amanda Sokalski, 17, wiping tears away from her cheeks. "She loved to make random dirt bike noises. She would rather sit out in the garage and talk for hours about bikes or work on her bike instead of watching TV. She didn't really care about what people thought of her." Ashlee Sokalski, 19, died Aug. 11 from injuries sustained in a motocross accident several days earlier. Amanda described her sister as funny and quick-witted, a petite girl with a big appetite for life and bacon-topped Hungry Howies pizza. "We always had a good time," said Amanda. "She was one of those people that joked around about everything. I never had a dull moment with her." Ashlee, a L'Anse Creuse High School North graduate and avid motocross racer, had been riding dirt bikes and motorcycles since the age of 3, when her dad, Mike Sokalski, would put her and Amanda on his bike and ride around with them in the backyard. Ashlee was given her first bike when she was 12 years old. Motocross is a form of motorcycle sport performed on enclosed off-road racetracks. Ashlee was recently named the only female from Michigan to qualify for the 29th annual AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships, the largest amateur motocross race in the world. The race took place from Aug. 2-7 in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., on country music singer Loretta Lynn's ranch. Her qualification to the national competition was a dream come true, according to Amanda, but her dream was ended by an accident on the course that left her in critical condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Michael Sokalski, Ashlee's 48-year-old father, said it's unknown what actually caused the accident, but after talking to two witnesses, he said, he thinks she didn't clear the second hill on the track and was hit in the head by another ride coming in behind her. The tire of the other rider's bike clipped Ashlee's head, knocking her unconscious and throwing her from her bike. "She didn't see the other rider," said Tanya Burgess, Ashlee's mom. "I talked to one of the witnesses, and she doesn't think Ashlee ever saw her coming. She didn't have a chance to protect herself" She died after sustaining six broken ribs, a broken back, injuries to her neck and head, and a damaged right lung. "Ashlee was never pulled from life support," said Burgess, 41. "Her heart gave out after a hard fight. Thank God we did not have to make that decision. Typical of Ash, it was all or nothing. The final cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma." Mike said Ashlee is the first girl to die from motocross injuries or an accident while on the course. Amanda, who has been riding since she was 10, said Ashlee wouldn't want her to stop racing. "She wouldn't want me to give it up, because it was something we did together," said Amanda. "We both loved it, so I'm going to keep riding. She's pushing me to do that, even though she's not here. We raced in the same class, so we raced against each other. She knew she could always beat me because she was always a bit faster than me, but she never really gloated about it. She was very humble." Ashlee was also a high school and collegiate athlete. She played basketball at LCN and during her freshman year at Macomb Community College. Her teammate and friend, Stephanie Garland, said Ashlee was like an older sister to her. "She was just so crazy, loud and funny," said Garland. "She was a super driven person. We always competed for sprints at practice. I respected her so much, and that's how I became a better (basketball) player, because she was so driven. She never gave up on anything." Ashlee dreamed of "going pro," and according to Amanda, she wanted nothing more than to race against Ashley Fiolek, a well-known professional rider. "She wanted to prove to everybody that she knew what she was doing," said Amanda. "We were privateers, meaning we paid for everything ourselves. Ashlee and I pulled strings to pay for everything all the time. She didn't care. She was out there (racing) every weekend whether she had the money or not. I don't know how, but she was. She'd sell stuff on Craigslist. She'd do whatever she had to do to make the money." Ashley worked three jobs - at a doctor's office, a movie theater and a gym - to pay to race and attend college. Mourners filed in to pay respects at her funeral in mid-August, sporting Tshirts dedicated to Ashlee. She was laid to rest in full motocross gear at Christian Memorial Cemetery in Rochester Hills. "It was a casual funeral because Ashlee was always in basketball shorts and a Tshirt," said Amanda. "Each racer that came also got a number plate with their numbers on it and stuck those to her casket just before she was buried. The funeral home said they'd never seen anything like it." Donations are being accepted to benefit a new foundation created in Ashlee's name to help injured riders. Family, friends and fellow racers will ride in her honor at the ninth annual Baha Brawl at Baha MX, located in Millington. T-shirts, finger cozies and wristbands will also be for sale. For more information, visit www.ashleesokalski316. You can reach Staff Writer Krista Browning at or at (586) 498-1068. You can reach Staff Writer Sara Kandel at (586) 498-1030. Caption:Above:Ashlee Sokalski, 19, poses for a photo in her motocross gear. Ashlee died Aug. 11 from injuries she sustained in a motorcycle accident while competing in the 29th annual AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships, the largest amateur motocross race in the world. Photo provided Below:Ashlee's siblings Amanda, 17, Adriana, 12, and Chance, 8 months, stand with Ashlee's motocross bike. Her racing number was 316 and Amanda's was 317.
  • Ashlee Sokalski View and purchase photos By Lisa Gervais, Assistant Editor Friends and family of 19-year-old motocross racer Ashlee Sokalski say she is in the race of her life. The Chesterfield resident is in critical condition after crashing Thursday during the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn's Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. "Ashlee's a fighter," her mother, Tanya Burgess, said from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville Monday morning. "This is the race of her life. You can just hear Ashlee saying, 'Just give me two more laps, I can do this. Just give me more time.'" Sokalski was going over a jump during a race Thursday afternoon when the accident happened. "She was on her second day of racing and she was doing really, really well," Burgess said. The family thinks her brakes locked up while she was in the air. Traveling about 50 miles per hour, when she hit the ground, she was sent flying off her bike, which hit the ground, bounced back and landed on her. Burgess, a trauma nurse, didn't see the accident happen. "I knew she was going through that part and all of the sudden I saw the medic flag go up," she said. "We actually met up with the paramedics coming off the field at the same time. We went right into the trauma trailer and they couldn't get her intubated." Storms in the area that day prevented medical crews from airlifting Sokalski to a hospital, so she first traveled by ambulance to a smaller hospital between Hurricane Mills and Nashville. En route, her father, a paramedic and firefighter in Oakland Township helped work on Sokalski in the ambulance. After arriving at the hospital she was then transferred to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. The trip totaled around two hours. "It's been touch and go," Burgess said. "They didn't expect her to make the first night...She pretty much shredded her right lung." In addition to lung injuries, Sokalski has six broken ribs, a closed head injury, skull and possible neck fractures and had 30 units of blood transfused into her the first night she was in the hospital. When the accident happened, Sokalski's sister, Amanda Sokalski, was hundreds of miles away in the middle of a shift at the MJR Chesterfield Crossing movie theater when a friend ran in to tell her the news. "We all know it's dangerous, I race, too," Amanda, 17, said. "But we never really thought it was this life threatening." Amanda travelled to Nashville to be with her sister. "I saw her the first night, about 1 a.m., she wasn't even recognizable," she said. Sokalski has been racing since she was 12 years old. She had been preparing a long time for the national championship, beating out more than 20,000 people from across the country to earn one of 1,386 qualifying positions. "I'm excited because it's my first year going to nationals and I'm ready to do good," Sokalski said in a previous interview with The Voice before heading to Hurricane Mills. Now her family and friends wait, "minute-to-minute," according to her mother. "She hasn't woken up at all," Burgess said. "At times she'll move her head a little, she's flexing her arms once in awhile. She hasn't opened eyes yet...we're really not sure her full neuro status. She almost arrested again yesterday." A few years ago Sokalski fell off her bike and shattered her leg. Doctors told her she'd never ride again, but she defied the odds and got back on her bike. "Ashlee is such a fighter; that little girl is tough as nails," Burgess said. Her family is now relying on Ashlee's strength, their faith and an outpouring of support from friends, family and strangers. "Facebook is the most amazing prayer network I've ever seen," Burgess said. "There's people all across the country praying for her." Amanda Sokalski is now spearheading a fundraising campaign for the anticipated medical and travel expenses. A Paypal account has been set up. Donations can be made by visiting, logging in and using the e-mail address Amanda Sokalski has also ordered T-shirts and wristbands and is trying to organize future benefits. More ways to donate are also being set up. For more information on how to help, call Amanda Sokalski at (586) 854-7985. "We just hope that everyone keeps her in their thoughts and prayers," Amanda said.
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