Joining the Amputee Coalition

Published on socials 8/6/22:

I am excited to announce that today I joined the Amputee Coalition team as the new Chief Programs Officer. I cannot imagine an endeavor more aligned with my passions and skillset than this role, at this organization, in service to the limb loss and limb difference community.

My father, a semi-retired prosthetist of 43 years, exposed me to this community at birth. I’ve never known a world without knowing individuals living with limb loss and limb difference. Through my personal and professional experiences I have come to understand many of the challenges facing the limb loss and limb difference community. But perhaps more importantly, I am eager to learn all that I do NOT know in the pursuit of service to this organization and the community it represents.

I have been volunteering with the Amputee Coalition and my local support group for the past 15 years. I attended my first Amputee Coalition conference in Atlanta in 2008 with a group from North Carolina and one of my best friends and former member of the community, David Ostiguy It was at that conference that he discovered a new connection with his community and a new opportunity to shine his incredible light. David has since passed away, having lost his battle to osteosarcoma, the culprit and cause of his multiple amputations over a seven-year cancer journey.

Starting way back with my undergraduate documentary work on body image, experience after experience brought me back to this community. When I started becoming more involved in the management of my family’s prosthetics practice, I had the opportunity to reimagine what a more patient-centric approach to our business could look like and went on to focus my master’s thesis work on the development of what the Amputee Coalition later adopted as its platform for state-level coverage initiatives,

It’s been the fulfillment and joy that I have felt through my work over the past six years in service to the O&P business community at the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA), including oversight of advocacy, research, and strategic alliances, management of the Medical Advisory Board, and fervent dedication to lobbying members of Congress for better coverage policies, that have continuously reminded me that I am on the right path.

Now, I am excited to dedicate this next chapter of my career to the Amputee Coalition and the millions of individuals living with limb loss and limb difference that it serves.

Stumble, recover

There are moments when I lose focus. This is less often than it used to be, as I’ve found strong purpose in almost all my present endeavors. This purpose works like a current beneath me, carrying me in a certain direction. And though I believe it is the right direction, it is not always easy to swim to the side. I’m not the best at resetting or stepping back as a form of self-preservation.

I stumbled last week. On stage, in front of a room full of colleagues I respect and admire, I stumbled. It was not the best seven minutes of my career. No matter the situational attributes of the moment, the fact is this, I lost focus because I ignored my purpose.

Here’s why. It was personal. In the moment, I made it about me, about what was happening to me, and not about the importance of delivering the message I was up there to deliver. I was on stage to educate the people in that room about a topic I know, a topic I talk about every single day.

Instead of looking at my colleagues and thinking about the importance of their assessment of the information I was providing, I focused on their assessment of me. I stumbled.

There were so many in that room who wanted me to succeed, and still, I could not catch my breath. A few of those people offered advice, teaching moments to influence the process of growth this will become. They are my champions, and are responsible for the current under me in more ways than they know.

Big picture, this is not that big of a deal, but it has allowed me to realign directly with that strong sense of purpose that has been guiding me so successfully. My dedication to our profession and the patients we serve is real and substantial. It is not a talking point or starting line, it is everything.

What a wonderful journey!

Looking back at my last post, I recognize a natural pause, a page break. I took time away from self-presentation to focus more on self-exploration, self-improvement, and self-reflection. I went back to UNC for graduate school, joined and sold my family’s business, went corporate, married my favorite human, quit corporate, joined AOPA, traveled, loved and lived.

I have more to be grateful for than I could possibly list. With every hand shake and every hug, I gather more love for my fellow humans. Words I use to describe the different groups of friends and family I find myself surrounded by include; my hive, my tribe, my village, my framily, my crew, the loves of my life, and my meaning. I still find the Walter Rosenblum quote to be the most accurate representation of my own perspective, “In my philosophy the meaning of one’s life derives from the people one has known and loved who have made life inexhaustible in its richness.”

Over a year ago, I joined the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association as the manager of projects, a position that had not previously existed. Though I was ready to leave the clinical environment, I wanted to continue serving the limb loss/difference community and the healthcare professionals dedicated to orthotic and prosthetic care. I learned so much in my role as the director of operations at Beacon P&O, and this new role at AOPA felt like the perfect opportunity to apply all my education, experience and talent.

This new(ish) career is proving to be incredibly rewarding, full of diversity and challenge. I remain excited and enthused, day in and day out. In many ways, it feels like a dream job.

What a wonderful journey!

In case you were wondering …


Photo by Shawn Rocco

There was a time when I was so naively enthusiastic about life and the world that I would write in my journals, at length, about any particular topic that struck my fancy. I have a chest full of journals with pages full of uninhibited sentiment and pure nonsense. The nonsense, perhaps far more useful than the sentiment, documents the wondering and wandering of my youth, adolescence and young adulthood. Now that I take myself too seriously I often miss the opportunity to think a single thought so truthfully as those written in my journals. I hope to one day find room and make time for the nonsense and the sentiment again.

Though I’m not sure this will ever be the place to stutter through my sentiments or babble on about things of little interest to others, I do think it will serve as a placeholder in the virtual world, a listing of sorts. I’ve decided to make good on a promise I made several years back, a promise to publish a website that would represent, at least in some fashion, who I have become since my days as a young journalist at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. I’ve been quite happy simply owning the domain in order to prevent something terribly interesting from being published under the name (a lesson I learned from a dear friend and mentor Ross Taylor while I was in undergrad.)

Today I live my life as a student, a documentarian, a daughter, a lover, a fan of the arts and a patron of humanity.

I’ve struggled with the concept of ego in publishing such a site, one dedicated to myself. I hear the annoying and childlike voice nagging “look at me, look at me,” taunting my better judgement. My self-indulgence is overwhelming as I press publish. And, at last, I am just another .com. It is comforting to know that far fewer people will ever read this post than those who know me personally by name. Keeping that in mind, it is my hope that this site will, at the very least, represent me in a theoretical sense, with all the randomness that makes up my being, in case someone should ever wonder what Ashlie White is up to.


What Might Have Been Lost

I wasn’t sure what would move me to post another blog. I’m still not sure why I stopped blogging. Perhaps the same reason I haven’t published my website … the desire to escape the egocentric requirements of self promotion stopped me from sharing my thoughts via the medium of the Internet.  I’m working on the website. I’m working on my ego. I’m happy. So, here we go.


Karen’s beauty still takes my breath away. She radiated happiness as she walked down the isle. The glow, the smile, the fixed gaze, details that decorate the moment, the memory. I cried. I know her heart and I wish it safe passage on her journey through life. If I’ve lost favor in her heart, I hope she knows that I love her no less for it. She will always be the most beautiful girl in the world to me.

What might have been lost . . .

Events, such as this most recent exchange of vows, always provide a ripe atmosphere for others to inquire about the commitments in my life. Incapable of formulating a tactful response to most questions regarding matters of my own heart, I often incite more inquisition with my uncouth but honest responses to these questions. Such conversations have left me sorting through pensive and retrospective analysis of my actions, recent and removed, perhaps “a vision too removed to mention.”

I am not sure who will read this, nor does it much matter. If you find yourself reading this in hopes to understand some part of the pain I’ve caused you, I hope you have forgiven me and believe that my apologies are sincere. I am often overwhelmed by feelings of guilt. Knowing that I’ve hurt you is the pain I bear.

I have lived my life understanding and embracing this notion; Love without resolution is as fickle as any other passion. Being that I’m not one for resolution, at present, every relationship I’ve ever been in has come to a figurative fork in the road where the question that determined the direction which I would take was “Can I live without this person.” Naturally once I’ve made the discovery that I can live without the person, no matter how much love we’ve shared, my heart is more inclined to accept a future without the person. The need to move on grows inside me, accompanied by the hesitant resolve to “Do the right thing.”

This is where my mind, my brain, plays the biggest role. The leaving is always easy. It’s a logical response. It makes sense. After I walk away, I find the feeling of freedom exhilarating beyond description. I thrive off the energy of being alone, motivated only by my need to create and no longer yearning for the attention of another. It is only my independence that I answer to. I’ve made a choice and I am happy.

I once loved without choice and in knowing that this love was wrong for me I wrote the following in my journal:

The pain will surely come.

But let it come, for I would rather suffer endless days of pain than to have never known his heart. 

I love him without reserve, unconditionally.

I love him without restoration or hope. 

I love him regardless of his inability to love me and despite the fact that I will lose in this love. 

I love him because there is no choice. And when he leaves he will take that love with him, having known that my love was significant. He will know the kind of love that he deserves and he will always appreciate me for showing him such love. 

He will think of me often and make comparisons that will allow him to understand the ways of the heart. He will love me, if not in time, in retrospect, and that love will stay with him for a lifetime.

This feeling was an expression of emotion overwhelmed by circumstance. Seven months after I wrote this I chose to walk away from his love. The situation did not play out as I had expected. As I said, love is as fickle. . .

My purpose in writing this is still unclear to me. As my blog is titled, Sifted and Stirred, I believe expression leads to greater understanding of self.

I know that I am capable of loving deeply, honestly and selflessly. I believe in love. I know I have been loved and that I am loved. I appreciate the experiences I’ve had in love. I am grateful for those who have shared their love with me. I have no regrets in love and want for nothing from love.

In the present, I have no expectations of love nor do I hope for love beyond my own reach. I am aware of what I deserve in love. I am open to bear the broken and lack of love and I am not afraid to lose in love.

What might have been lost along the way are the simple ideas that inspire the heart. The romantic notions that make us daydream have been replaced by realistic expectations and grounded principles. After all is said and done, I’d give it all to be completely ruined by love.

Here’s to finding what might have been lost.