Bismarck woman shares her story on leg amputation, encourages community awareness

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Many people throughout the community have been taking extra steps to spread limb-loss awareness. We want to introduce you to one woman who is doing just that.

“I can say this. It’s been three years, and it’s still not normal,” said Ashley Gray, Amputee.

Ashley Gray, mother of four, recovering drug addict, and as of recently, an above-the-knee amputee. She tells us it’s hard for her and many others who live with limb loss.

“The first year was hell. Anybody that stared at me the wrong way, I got a bad attitude towards them. I’ve cussed little kids out. Just because I felt like.. why are you staring at me? I’m the same person, I’m just missing a limb. So, it took me a while to get over that,” said Gray.

According to the American Journal of Managed Care, someone is diagnosed with diabetes in the US every 17 seconds. Every day 230 Americans with diabetes will suffer an amputation.
I reached out to one of the only organizations offering support to area amputees.

“There is no support groups in North Dakota. Or there was none before we formed ours.
So I wanted those patients, if they had questions for an amputee to have someone they could talk to .
I also wanted to form a group of peer to peer meeting so they can bounce ideas off each other,” said Mike Dresser, Un-Limb-Ited, Organizer.

Mike Dresser, who also helps to make prosthetics, tells us many of the patients he sees struggle with depression.

“Nobody wants to be different. So, some people deal with that. Some individuals with amputations, cosmetic is a huge thing to them. It’s something that should be embraced and people should know about it,” said Dresser.

Gray recently joined this support group and is excited to meet with some of her peers.
She’s also been posting in community Facebook groups, trying to find ways to get back out in the community. She’s set her sights on horseback riding, and tells us that she was inspired by a character in a movie.

“He’s paralyzed from the waist down from a horseback riding accident. Then they surprise him and get him back on a horse. That really… that pulled at a lot of strings. That’s why I made that post. I just want to feel like a human again. And some days I just don’t,” said Gray.

Gray says she still struggles with her condition, but tries to stay positive.

“I miss that. I miss being able to walk around with my son and playing with him, but it’s ok. At least I’m, still alive,” said Gray.

Gray also tells me that she is happy to have her fiancé for support, and encourages others to join the Un-Limb-Ited support group.

For more information on how to do that, click HERE.

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