Bridging the gap: Adaptive Cross Fit Champion Hurley seeks to raise awareness of disabilities

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Tina Hurley, founder of the Less Leg, More Heart foundation. Courtesy Photo

NASHUA, NH – “You don’t have to have ten fingers and ten toes to make a difference,” says Tina Hurley, when referring to people with disabilities and what one can accomplish. Raised in Southern NH and now a resident of Merrimack, she was diagnosed as a young adult with a rare ailment that restricted blood flow to her lower legs. Hurley then endured years of surgeries before having her lower left leg amputated in 2016. Over the next two years, she would face additional surgeries as well as challenges in her personal life.

In 2018, a year she calls “transformative,” the former elite CrossFit athlete began to train again and later that same year would be crowned a CrossFit adaptive champion.

A physician assistant (holding degrees from UNH-Durham and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Manchester), Hurley refers to her journey from an active medical professional and athlete to a patient then back to being an athlete again as a series of awakenings. There was so much I learned along the way. Even with a great system of health care, there are barriers those with disabilities face. . .I wanted to bridge that gap.”

Enter the Less Leg, More Heart foundation.

Formed in 2019, Hurley’s non-profit seeks to help the disabled population in several critical ways.  Utilizing her medical training and background, and drawing upon experiences as a patient, Hurley says LLMH utilizes four pillars of operation: peer mentorship, medical advocacy, funding for holistic approaches to care, and funding for services in the home when someone is recovering post-hospitalization.

Sign up for the Aug. 7 Less Leg, More Heart Cornhole tournament, taking place at White Birch Brewing in Nashua. Courtesy Photo

To raise further awareness and funds, the organization is hosting its first annual event, a Cornhole Tournament on Saturday, August 7, from 12-6 p.m. at White Birch Brewing on Amherst Street in Nashua.

“It’s our first live event since the world shut down,” says Hurley. “It’s a great opportunity to have some fun and support a great cause. We also want to raise awareness around issues of disability.”

In addition to the cornhole tournament-$100 entry fee for a team of four – (by the way, who doesn’t LOVE cornhole), the event will feature live music, auctions and raffles, as well as food. $2 from every pint sold goes toward LLMH, as well as $3 from every specially labeled LLMH, limited-edition, 4-pack cans of White Birch Brewing Lager sold. “White Birch has been a tremendous partner,” says Hurley, we can’t thank them enough.” Attendees can also meet Scott Rigsby, the first-ever athlete to compete in and finish the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon on two prosthetics.

Over the past few years, Hurley believes progress is being made in terms of disability awareness and public perceptions. That doesn’t mean there isn’t work to do, but society is getting there. She pointed to recent news that Paralympians are being compensated at the same level as Olympians for the first time as progress. Those with disabilities don’t want sympathy, she says, rather empowerment and encouragement.

To learn more about the Less Leg, More Heart Foundation, click here. To register your team for the Cornhole Tournament or to learn more, please click here where you can register via Eventbrite.



About this Author

chrisdugan

Chris Dugan

Chris Dugan is a regular contributor to Manchester Ink Link and writes the Medical Matters column.