You can do anything if you put your mind to it.
That’s the message 17-year-old Ashley Kula would like to share with friends, family, and other patients at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. Right now, the message rings particularly true for Ashley. This spring, a logo she designed was chosen to be the official emblem for the 2019 Turtle Derby.
“I didn’t think I was actually going to win when I drew it,” Ashley wrote. “For me, it was more just something fun to do. I don’t usually wincontests in general, but I was very happy when I realized I actually won.”
The 2019 Turtle Derby is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital grounds. In the case of rain, the event will be held at the same time the following day, Friday, June 21.
The event is a fundraiser for hospital ‘extras’ that support our patients. Money raised during past derbies has enabled the hospital to purchase sensory toys, kid-friendly Band-Aids, coping boxes for hospitalized children and sporting equipment. Turtle Derby funding has also supported our music therapy program. The event itself includes signature turtle races, carnival games, food and more.
We asked Ashley to tell us more about her winning design, which features an athletic turtle equipped with sweatbands.
How did you hear about the 2019 Turtle Derby logo contest? Why did you choose to enter?
I heard about it through a therapist at the hospital while I was staying there. I thought it’d just be a fun thing to do.
Tell us more about your inspiration for the Turtle Derby logo. How did you come up with your logo idea? What was challenging about creating the design? What was your favorite part of the process?
I knew my drawing would need to be more of a cartoon style because I didn’t think a photo-realistic drawing would be chosen to be put on a T-shirt. I then drew a cartoon turtle and added the little details as they came to me, such as the beads of sweat and the track. My favorite part would be the uniqueness of the challenge. I’m not used to doing drawings like that.
What was your reaction when you learned your design had been chosen to represent the event? Can you describe the moment and what it meant to you?
I was surprised. I didn’t think I was actually going to win when I drew it. For me, it was more just something fun to do. I don’t usually win contests in general, but I was very happy when I realized I actually won.
Are you planning to attend the Turtle Derby later this year to see your design in action? If so, how excited are you to participate in the event?
Yes, and I’m very excited to see my design on T-shirts. I also will be happy to see all the people I met during my stay at the hospital.
Do you enjoy drawing and creative projects? What other interests and hobbies do you have?
Yes, I create a lot of art at home, though most of it is not the same style as my turtle. I always have my sketchbook and my tools near me wherever I am. I also have done watercolors and painting quite a bit. I am currently in an IB [International Baccalaureate] art class at my school. I also play hockey and lacrosse.
Do you have a message you’d like to share with the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital community? Anyone that you’d like to thank?
I’d like to let all the patients in the hospital know that you can do anything you put your mind to and to always take your shot. I’d also like to thank all the hospital staff—from doctors to janitors—because I know it can’t be an easy job.