'God's plan' suits Ashley just fine
Atlanta Journal & Constitution 7Jan99; Page JM02
By Jennifer Atkins
ATLANTA, GA 17-year-old Ashley Kurpiel of Peachtree City, Georgia says her
family, her church and her life are most important, but none of these is
easy for her. She was born with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, a
rare disease in which soft tissue in the body gradually calcifies,
essentially turining to bone. Just 200 people worldwide have the disease.
But Ashley tries to help others in spite of her condition. Recently she
helped residents of a nursing home bake holiday cookies, as part of
continuing volunteer she is doing as part of her Laurel project. She plans
to go on a mission and to college, hopefully to study social work or
education. She sometimes works part-time at a local Kroger supermarket,
getting to work in a golf cart, since she can't drive.
Carol, Ashley's mother, helps her with many simple tasks, like putting in
her contact lenses and putting on makeup. The family hopes that recent
research discoveries will lead to a new treatment for Ashley's condition in
as little as one year.
Ashley's story has been prepared for upcoming segments on ABC's 20/20 and
the Discovery Channel. In a poem for a ninth-grad English assignment she
wrote, "People look, but do not see, a person who is whole and complete, but
little do they know, I keep my cup half full, not half empty."