Local woman turns hardship into leadership
MERRIMACK – Tina Hurley has gained a new perspective after being on both sides of the operating bed, going from practicing medicine – performing amputations – to having numerous procedures done on her own left leg.
However, Hurley still holds her license and is now an amputee, physiologist, adaptive educator, adaptive athlete – and recent founder of a nonprofit, Less Leg More Heart. Its mission is to spread hope, decrease suffering and to enhance physical and mental viability by providing customized services and supplies to patients and their families during life-changing medical circumstances.
In 2013, she was diagnosed with popliteal artery entrapment syndrome, and was told in December 2015 that she was going to lose her leg. Hurley underwent 13 surgeries, 10 of which failed, resulting in her having an additional three surgeries in just one year.
When her situation became critical, and all surgeries failed, she underwent a left below-knee amputation in July 2016. However, she suffered a complicated postoperative course resulting in a large wound. She then had a revision amputation in March 2017, which once again led to wound issues. Then, she had another amputation revision later in 2017.
However, through it all, she believes has gained more than she has lost. Last year, she, founded her nonprofit.
In describing her story, Hurley said, “It’s one that on the surface seems tragic, but one where I found opportunity and obstacles; advantage from adversity and turned trials into triumph.”
She will be delivering a speech that details her story today in Merrimack at CrossFit Earned at 26 Columbia Cir. Unit B in Merrimack. The event begins with a bit of promoting at 11:30 a.m. today. From noon, she will speak for approximately 45 minutes telling her story. Then things will transition into a group workout before door prizes are announced. Raffle tickets will be available, and registration for this event is $20, which is to be paid upon entry and includes a ticket for raffled goods and services. Additional raffle tickets can be purchased for $5. There will also be a silent auction and 100 percent of the proceeds go to her nonprofit to help people in need. More details can be found online at the Facebook event page, https://www.facebook.com/events/299358060689811/.
“It’s a call to action,” Hurley said. “We want the local community and southern New Hampshire community to become involved in breaking invisible barriers that exist between people with disabilities and people that are able-bodied.”
As a New Hampshire native, Hurley grew up in Nashua, and completed her last two years of high school in Merrimack. Now, she is looking to make the move just outside of Dallas to continue her nonprofit on the side, while also returning to gainful employment doing sales for a national prosthetic company. For now, she said the nonprofit is a side job she has going on, which is comprised of herself, six board members and many volunteers.
“Really, the people I’m serving give me just as much as they feel I give them,” Hurley said.
It all started when she made the decision to take a risk to change her life. Hurley said she decided she was not going to think logically or financially for a year in order to complete this project. Additionally, she said each year, she chooses a different theme for the year, with last year’s being service. This year, her theme is restoration, which means restoring her body, financial security and continuing the trajectory of serving others through various approaches.
“I try to take the heaviness and the burden of my hardship and package it in a way where it will decrease the suffering of someone else,” Hurley said.