Published October 01, 2013
Despite suffering from a rare disease which is turning her body into a statue, Ashely Kurpiel considers herself blessed.
The Daily Mail reports that Ms Kurpiel, 31, is one of just 700 people in the world who suffer from Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP), an incurable disease sometimes known as 'stone man syndrome' because of how it slowly immobilizes the body.
The condition arises from a mutation of the body's repair mechanism which causes muscles, tendons and ligaments to convert to bone material when damaged.
Ms Kurpiel 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.
However she has managed to make the most of what movement she has. She has met the Dalai Lama, walked down the aisle in 2002 and has taken up surfing.
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."