Model with a Mission Inspiring Other Amputee Women
Last year, I had the gift of being the Fundraising Coach for an amazing fundraiser and part of a story that has since touched the lives of many other amputee women who have been through the life changing experience of losing a limb and fighting the odds to find their way back to normal. Marina Ivie is a victim of a horrific car accident from her youth, but she’s much more than that now: role model, single mother, volunteer, full-time career woman, and rugged outdoorswoman. Her GiveForward fundraiser raised almost $30K for a prosthetic leg that would give her the freedom to continue living the life she deserves. Right from the first conversation I had with her Fundraising Team, I knew that Marina was someone who would go on to change lives, inspire others, and find a way to turn her story into a blessing that brings hope to others going through the same journey. She was willing to share her brave words with us.
A New Kind of Beautiful – by Marina Ivie
On the night of August 24th 2001, the last free weekend before my freshman year of High School started, my friends car hit a guardrail with me inside. The guardrail amputated my leg on impact, and left me severely injured. After a growling 45 minutes, paramedics managed to pull me from the wreckage with little bleeding. This was the first of many miracles that I would experience. The main artery has approximately three minutes before you bleed out, yet I managed to hold on for the forty five. Not only was my leg amputated, but my liver was also bleeding out, and my body had withstood multiple broken bones and lacerations; I had little chance of survival.
After a miraculous recovery, I was transported to the rehabilitation center just one week after the accident. I have always been the stubborn type, and was not thrilled at the fact that I was lying in bed awaiting recovery. I made a deal with the hospital staff that once I could effectively roll over onto my side, I would be allowed to go home. I am proud to say that just one short week later I was discharged.
6 years passed, with multiple failed attempts at wearing a leg. Then in 2008, I learned that more of my leg had to be amputated. I was told that not only would it be difficult to walk again, but the cost would be astronomical. With this new twist of fate, I donated my leg to a nurse that could not qualify for one herself. The joy I felt from being able to provide this gift was greater than any joy I felt on a single day of wearing it for myself.
Over the next few years I learned to manage everyday life with crutches. In 2012, after 3 years of fertility treatments, I was blessed with a beautiful baby boy that I named Jayson. The day I brought Jayson home from the hospital, I remember walking into his room and bursting out in tears. I was overwhelmed at the thought of caring for this little miracle that had been placed in my hands.
Just as every parent does, I learned to care for my son through trial and error. I could not walk with him, but I got pretty good at learning how to sit down and scoot with him in my arms. As Jayson began to grow, so did my fear of keeping up with him. This fear was greatly increased when a few months later I found myself divorced and caring for him entirely on my own.
In February of 2013, I attended the Executive Assistance Organization’s BEL conference, where I would soon receive yet another life miracle. On the first night of the conference, I met a wonderful and caring woman by the name of Alisanne Frew. Alisanne looked me dead in the eyes, and dared to ask the question of “why don’t you wear a leg” My short and simple answer was “I don’t have sixty thousand dollars, do you?” The next morning I was in tears to learn that Alisanne had reached out to several key individuals at the conference with only one goal in mind… To help a complete stranger.
Within days I was contacted by Jeff Hoffman, founder of Priceline and mentor to Give Forward.com. Jeff and the Giveforward team had a donation link set up within a few weeks. Alisanne continued to work with me, along with the EAO team, and an inspiring editor by the name of Lucy Brazier. Lucy had an article published about me in the Executive Secretary Magazine, directing all readers to my GiveForward.com link. Within a matter of days, the donations on the website began to climb.
In May of 2013, I received the call that we had reached our goal, and that I would be receiving a leg. It was apparent from the first steps that I had no idea how much this was going to mean to me. A few days later, I wrapped little Jayson in my arms, and experienced the first of many dances with him. This seemingly simple memory is ingrained into my heart, and will remain one of the best moments of my life!
For a year I adjusted to the leg and settled into everyday life, until one day I realized it was time to give back. I had received this beautiful miracle of being able to walk again, and shared it with no one. After 13 years of becoming confident, it took receiving a leg for me to fully realize just how beautiful I was without one. I yearned to help those around me, to instil this confidence in not only myself, but others with disabilities.
In April of 2014, I started modeling. I want to break the “perfect” model mold, and revolutionize this industry. My dream is simple: to inspire every man, woman and child into knowing and believing that they are beautiful just the way they are.
There are not enough words to thank the GiveForward team, along with the numerous individuals that helped me along the way. The GiveForward organization has helped me not only receive the blessing of walking again, but the blessing of believing in myself.
To view the article in Executive Secretary Magazine, please click here
To view Marina’s thank you video to the EAO and BEL team, please click here
For booking or interview inquiries, or to follow Marina, please click here