Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, also known as FOP, is a rare disease which makes muscles gradually turn into bones. This condition is extremely rare, with just 800 known cases in the world of people with FOP, one of whom is Ashley Kurpiel.
At the age of three, Ashley began developing signs of FOP, but was wrongly diagnosed as having childhood fibromatosis. Doctors decided to amputate one of her arms and assured that she would be fine. However, the symptoms remained and her parents decided to seek a second opinion. That’s when they learned that their little girl actually had FOP.
However, doctors didn’t give her much hope and said she would survive 10 years at most; but despite the doctors’ prognosis, Ashley is now 32 years old and her condition hasn’t stopped her living life to the fullest.
Her childhood and adolescence were tough because she didn’t have many friends and was discriminated against because of her appearance. But, the woman now has a lot of friends and has always been able to count on the love of her family. Ashley also knows how to drive, skate, apply makeup and even surf. She’s also an activist and promoter of various organizations which support amputees and FOP sufferers.
An event which changed Ashley’s life was when she met the Dalai Lama in 2007 and his words inspired her to stay strong and persevere in spite of the challenges. There’s no doubt that this woman’s spirit is unbreakable.