Unbroken Stride

My Y Story: Christina Hurley

Unbroken Stride – A Story of Resilience and Gratitude

Sometimes in life we meet people who we are simply amazed by, for no particular reason, but they just seem to be so together and have it all figured out.  Christina Hurley is one of these people, she holds a positive outlook on life, has a wicked sense of humor, is incredibly kind and generous and on top of that is clearly beautiful inside an out!  You wonder how these amazing creatures walk among us with a completely different take on life, and you think, were they just born that way?

When Christina “Tina” Hurley was 27 years old she was living her best life, a native of Nashua, she had a great medical career, had recently met the perfect man and was financially and emotionally thriving.  Tina seemingly had it all, until she began to have some symptoms in her calf area in her legs.  After many medical visits and rapidly increasing symptoms, Tina was diagnosed with a rare vascular disorder that altered her life greatly, physically and mentally.  At the time she was engaged, and due to the disease, almost had to call off her wedding, however, the couple persevered and were married, only to receive news six months later that Tina would need to amputate her leg.  On July 28, 2016 Tina became an amputee, returned home shortly to find her husband had left, and spiraled into depression.  Tina luckily had a strong support system, including a close friend, who could help her out of her struggle.  She found new communities at a local gym as well as Paralympic teams, which led her to competing and winning medals. Her new status as an amputee brought her on a new journey in which she found strength, determination and perseverance, but also a new perspective on life.  She looked deep inward and asked herself how she could help others so no one else in a similar situation would find themselves in the same dark place as she had once been.

In 2019 Tina founded Less Leg More Heart, a local non-profit that serves and offers amputees lifelong support through education, an avocation system, supplementary forms of wellness, and home accessibility. “Using my medical training and patient experience, I constructed four pillars of operation: peer mentorship, medical advocacy, funding for holistic approaches to care, and funding for services in the home when someone is recovering from the hospital.  The next amputee won’t lose further weight from lack of protein; we will provide supplements.  The next trauma victim won’t wither when they leave rehab; we will provide continuity of care with a gym membership.  The next patient won’t feel so alone, so lost for resources, so confused about medial jargon, so depressed and so unsure of their medical decision making; we will advise, consult, advocate and encourage. The next rock bottom will have a softer landing because we commit to be their cushion.  Less Leg More Heart is committed to helping others realize sooner that you don’t need feet to leave your mark in this world.”Christina Hurley

In 2020 Tina began another journey, this time as a mother, she gave birth to a boy during Covid.  By bringing another life into the world, Tina found that she needed additional support, and someone mentioned the Y, specifically Kids Stop as an optional support.  Tina visited the Y and applied for Y Cares, and quickly started bringing her son to the babysitting service.  “My first couple days at the Y I just sat in the locker room and stared at the wall” Hurley reminisced.  Eventually Tina felt comfortable to start working out and shared how wonderful the staff have been, adding that no one ever stares at her, and always offers modifications during class.  Her son is now enrolled in the Early Education Center in Merrimack and loves it!  Just ten years ago Tina’s life looked so different, she has a new perspective and is thankful for the Y for when she needed it most.

As for her non-profit, Tina has a ten year goal and is currently working with 70 amputees across the country to offer a community of resources and a streamlined approach to care.  Some of the organization’s support services have included providing running blades, care packages, and other YMCA memberships.  “We never really say no” Tina shared. Since its inception Less Leg More Heart has provided support services to over 300 individuals. The non-profit recently held a successful gala which not only helps to drive the mission but sheds light on the journey of amputees.

Christina may not have been born the way she is now, both physically and mentally, but her story is such an inspiring one, and she shared she wouldn’t have it any other way.  Her journey is so incredible, but what is most admirable is what she decided to do with it “I was just a white collar worker who became the demographic I was an expert in.  You don’t understand until you go through it, and that is what inspired me to start Less Leg More Heart.”

To learn more about Less Leg More Heart and Christina’s journey please visit: www.lesslegmoreheart.com

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