They are, by all accounts, normal unassuming folks with a penchant for caring and giving. They are parents of 11 and grandparents of more than 60, demonstrating an extraordinary commitment to family and the values fundamentally attached. And their hearts are as big as the state that acknowledges and recognizes them regularly for the wonderfully generous people they are.

Their names are Karen and Alan Ashton, and many in the Utah Valley consider them role models. Five years ago, Karen received treatment for breast cancer at Utah Valley Hospital, and both she and her husband remain eternally grateful for the new perspective on life that experience has given them. That gratitude motivated a culture-changing gift of $500,000 from the Ashton Family Foundation to Ascent…The Campaign for Utah Valley Hospital.

"Utah Valley Hospital is the heart of the medical experience in the valley,” said Karen Ashton. “The hospital has the confidence of the people in the area because of their wonderful doctors and staff. The current infrastructure, however, does not reflect their capabilities. We are looking forward to a new medical facility and a feeling of healing.”

Their gift was the first to the $430 million capital campaign and has helped inspire a series of six and seven-figure pledges. The enormous project is by far the largest investment ever made in the delivery of health care and hospital services in Utah County and its surrounding communities. The core result of the initiative is new infrastructure, a “replacement” hospital that will feature a new patient tower and Multi-Specialty Outpatient Center with spacious patient rooms, an enhanced and expanded surgery department and ER, a cancer center, an innovative Simulation Learning Center for advanced clinical training, new patient care technologies, and the Intermountain LiVe Well Center.

Alan Ashton began his work in computer science at the University of Utah in the early 1970s. He and Bruce Bastian created the groundbreaking word-processing software, WordPerfect and the software giant, WordPerfect Corporation. He and his wife then developed Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, the largest resort in Utah. The resort opened in 1995 and has grown to include the 55-acre Ashton Gardens, Museum of Natural Curiosity, Children’s Discovery Garden, Waterfall Amphitheatre, Farm County, Museum of Ancient Life, Electric Park Fairgrounds, Thanksgiving Point Golf and Club House, movie complex, and business park.