At seventeen years old, Ruthie Lindsey was hit by an ambulance outside of a gas station in rural Louisiana. She broke her neck, punctured her lungs, and ruptured her spleen. Doctors performed a spinal cord fusion using wire and miraculously, she walked out of the hospital within a month.

Only a few years later, newly married and settling into adulthood, a simple turn of her head left her body riddled with chronic pain. Her case confounded medical professionals and in the months that followed, she became addicted to narcotic painkillers, depressed, and bedridden. After dozens of visits to specialists and surgeons, a doctor discovered that the wire holding her neck together was piercing her brain stem. Without another surgery, she would be paralyzed.

As she prepared for the procedure, her father passed away suddenly, her marriage began to collapse, and she surrendered her spirit to dependency and to suffering. The surgery repaired her spine but she was still broken, inside and out. Until she chose to change her narrative.

Ruthie went home to the same town where she almost lost her life. She decided to learn joy again, to retrain her spirit to soothe her physical pain, to salvage strength from her suffering. She traded fentanyl for sunsets and morphine for picking wildflowers on the side of the road. Ruthie stopped using her body as a hiding place and started using it as her bridge to connect with the world.

Now a renowned speaker, host, social media figure, and author, Ruthie travels the globe sharing her story, empowering others to find purpose in their pain, to look for beauty in the midst of their brokenness. Her forthcoming memoir, Salvaged, will be available through Touchstone/Simon and Schuster in 2019. (Read more in Ruthie's words below)

 Photo:  Chris Ozer

Photo: Chris Ozer