Ashley Spalla, Indianapolis, IN

Ashley is an Army veteran with 7 years of service. She has experience in research through working in biology labs as an undergraduate and genetics research in Down’s Syndrome. She is an aspiring researcher as well as an avid endurance athlete with a love for adaptive sports (pushrim racing, downhill skiing, wheelchair basketball), playing with her Aussie Shepherd, Chloe, and a semi-professional artist that specializes in 2D portraits (graphite, colored pencil, pastels). She loves spending time with friends and family, especially her nieces and nephews who have stolen her heart (Eloise, Ryker, Eva Kay, Parker and Logan).

Unfortunately, during her senior year as an undergrad she injured her hip while training in Army R.O.T.C., which lead to a diagnosis of hip dysplasia in January 2009 (age 21). At that time, education and awareness or any information on hip dysplasia was extremely minimal. She ended up having surgery, right hip PAO with scope, in June 2009, but it unfortunately was performed incorrectly. It meant not being able to commission in the Army and a series of more hip surgeries, among other challenges. To date, she has had 25 hip surgeries with more being planned (42 total surgeries and counting) and uses a wheelchair for mobility.

Ashley’s Miles4Hips are found in adaptive sports, art and a passion for “hip” patient advocacy. She uses her hip journey as motivation to raise awareness, educate others and promote research to further the treatment and advancement in hip disorders. She soon hopes to return to school to pursue becoming a Physician’s Assistant. She continues to challenge herself mentally, artistically and physically, even if it means doing it from wheels.