Ashley RayCountry newcomer Ashley Ray has a deeply personal reason for participating in events throughout October to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

On her official YouTube Channel, Ashley reveals, "My mom was diagnosed with three different types of breast cancer last September, a year ago. Just seeing her and what she went through ... made me want to give back for all of the women who have done research and helped with walks ... that's the reason my mom is here today."

One of the things Ashley has done is to form a team called A Ray of Hope, to walk in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Nashville on Oct. 10. "My nickname since I was little has been 'A-Ray," says the singer. Ashley says the team name was suggested by "a couple of my fans/friends."

The team's goal is to raise $5,000 and have 100 people walk with them. For those not in the Nashville area, you can still participate by donating on the team's walk page.

One of the songs Ashley has included on her latest album is 'Country Strong,' a song which she says describes "all of the women in my family." She's using 'Country Strong' to help in the Race for the Cure, in part because the tune is her mom's favorite on the record. Ashley says, "It's helped her through all of this. It's just reminded her that [if] we fall down, we get back up."

Ashley is incorporating information about the Race for the Cure on all of her social networking sutes, including Twitter and MySpace.