[caption id="attachment_71263" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Ashley Kurpiel Body Turning Into Statue (PHOTO)[/caption]Woman with Disease Turning Her Into Statue Defies Illness to Enjoy Life
Upon hearing of a disease that turns a person into a statue, images of the wife of Biblical figure Lot come to mind as she looked back onto the destruction of cities Sodom and Gomorrah and was transformed into a pillar of salt.
However, the disease known as Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva or "Stone Man Syndrome" doesn't work that quickly. It is a slow process where muscle tissue slowly becomes ossified. 31-year-old Ashley Kurpiel is one of only 700 people to suffer from this congenital disorder, reports the Daily Mail.
What is inspiring is that Kurpiel isn't letting the disease keep her from experiencing life. She knows that her form of the disease will soon make it impossible for her to be mobile. It has already led to the amputation of her right arm. Physical control and movement of one leg has already been lost.
Kurpiel says the disease has made her an optimistic person. She has recently competed in a 5k surfing course via the aid of a special board. Yet, how many healthy people can do that? Bear in mind that her medical condition can lead to the seizure of a bone joint from a single trauma. So Kurpiel risks acceleration of her medical condition by taking the risk to enjoy life.
Ms Kurpiel has set up a GoFundMe page to try and raise money for a surfing trip.
"My condition has made me who I am - an optimistic person with an inner strength and determination to succeed," she said. "If I want to do something, then I normally find a way to do it. I don't know how much longer I will have movement in my body, so I want to experience as much as I can now.
Kurpiel says is feels lucky.
"In other cases of FOP people have frozen solid, their jaws locking shut. They can't move and have to talk through their teeth long before they get to my age. So I actually feel extremely lucky," she said.
The Mail reports Ashley was diagnosed with the condition when she was three years old - six months after her right arm was amputated by surgeons who wrongly suspected she had cancer.
"During my childhood my mobility was fine, because I was still young," she added. "But I was quite unhappy. I felt very different from the other children at school, and I didn't have many friends. I was quite shy and kept myself to myself. It wasn't much of a life."
He symtoms began to show as a teen and gradually became worse as she aged.
"I began to feel my body stiffen gradually. I knew I was finally facing the onset of the condition,' she remembers.
"I'd been told what was going to happen, and feeling the first symptoms made me want to experience everything life had to offer - before it was too late."
In 2006 Ms Kurpiel was involved in a serious car crash which forced her left leg to lock into a bent position permanently in May 2007.
"I feel so humbled that so many people have taken an interest, and hopefully found some inspiration, in my life," she said.
Today she is a full-time ambassador for amputees and families affected by the FOP and in December she is going on a Caribbean cruise with 100 friends who are amputees.
"I've been blessed to meet so many truly amazing people, especially the Dalai Lama - that was a real honour,' said Ashley of the religious leader, whom she met in 2007.
"I feel so humbled that so many people have taken an interest, and hopefully found some inspiration, in my life.'
On The Web:
The living statue who refuses to give up: Woman, 31, on living with rare condition that slowly turns her muscles to bone and has already robbed her of one arm