Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Hurley.
Tina, before we jump into specific questions about your organization, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was diagnosed with a rare vascular disease in 2013 that cuts off blood flow to my lower legs. It is called Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome. Physicians believe I was born with the condition but it often takes decades to manifest after the artery wall becomes so thickened from the entrapment over years.
My medical team began with attempts at surgical correction in late 2013 but ultimately, ten surgeries in just under three years failed to restore blood flow to my left leg, including muscle debulking procedures, artery bypasses and endovascular interventions. I underwent a below-knee amputation of my left leg in July of 2016 then two revision surgeries due to poor healing. My final surgery was in October 2017 which totaled 13 surgeries on my left leg. Though the process was grueling, I found the more leg that was taken from me, the more love, gratitude, connection, perspective and purpose I gained.
In the midst of the procedures, my marriage dissolved from the pressure of the circumstances and I had to sell my home, rehome my two beloved dogs and rely on my loving community/family/friends to get me through the hardest time of my life. It was then I realized the true power in vulnerability, connection, community and compassion. These things saved my life.
In 2018, I relocated to Dallas, TX to participate as an athlete in a nine-week restorative physical and mental training program at the Adaptive Training Foundation. Upon completion of their amazing program, I was recharged, redefined and reignited. My emotional bandwidth had been restored and my mission was clear- I needed to help the community with resources/education/goods and services that were lacking in my journey. As a Physician Assistant, I have always been dedicated to serving humanity, but in that capacity, I was bound by the regulations of insurance, which restricted me from helping people in the ways they needed sometimes. So I started a 501c3 nonprofit in 2019 called Less Leg More Heart, a slogan that had become my mantra over the years. It was time to give back the love given to me through my journey, find a way to make the world better with the tools I acquired through my struggles, and encourage others to experience the pure joy in helping others alongside me.
I’ve learned that life is not about finishing with ten fingers or ten toes… it is about determining your purpose, marrying it with your passion, and leaving a positive footprint on the world- whether it’s your native foot, a prosthetic or a wheelchair mark.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Things have not been easy but I’m grateful for the difficult times because it helped shape my character for the better. It has been a rough, jagged, unpredictably tragic but beautiful road of struggle and personal development the past 7 years since my diagnosis. I’ve suffered through repeatedly failed surgeries, wounds, pain, misdiagnoses, marital and socioeconomic dissolution, profound uncertainty, confusion, sadness, anxiety, depression, fear, and PTSD… but that is not what defines me. I’ve chosen to be a product of my decisions rather than a result of my circumstances though so I view each of the challenges I’ve faced with gratitude because each of them taught me valuable lessons that has enriched my life.
We’d love to hear more about your organization.
I am an exercise physiologist, a nationally certified Physician Assistant and the founder/executive director of the 501c3 charity Less Leg More Heart. Less Leg More Heart’s intent is to spread hope, decrease suffering and to enhance physical/mental viability by providing customized services/supplies to patients and their families during life-changing medical circumstances. LLMH serves the disabled community in four broad ways:
1) Peer mentorship
2) Medical advocacy
3) Funding for holistic approaches to care
4) Funding for home services to include food deliveries, home cleaning, accessibility modifications, etc.
Less Leg More Heart is special in many ways, namely our ability to navigate behind the walls people throw up in order to determine their needs. No one wants to feel vulnerable, dependent or in-need however, in that place, there is strength to be found, lessons to be learned and opportunity to behold. We focus on helping the person and their family through their medical journey pre/peri/post-op as well as provide them with a socioeconomic buffer and helpful goods/services that are allocated after a thorough triage of their situation in a strategic manner based on their current place in their stage of grieving.
What were you like growing up?
I was dedicated to athletics growing up, it was my outlet. I got into gymnastics early and stuck with it for over a decade before transitioning into competitive cheerleading which I continued with through D1 college.
My mother answered this question and said:
Personality: Robust, caring/thoughtful (big heart), determined/strong willed, leader, witty.
Interest: Sought out athletic endeavors constantly—> climbing everything (railings, walls, trees furniture), riding bikes, sports of any kind, tried saving anyone she felt needed saving.
- Website: www.lesslegmoreheart.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org