OPINION COLUMNS

Continuing to inspire: Fowler now reaching out to help others

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, January 5, 2019
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On an unseasonably cold April morning at the McCarroll Middle School track, emotions ran as high as the fierce north wind.

Angie Fowler. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

It was the first Jackie’s Run 5K since the passing of the race’s namesake Jackie Murphree. It was a chance to celebrate her life along with help with the mission that was started in her honor – a scholarship for a Decatur graduate entering the health field.

After conducting interviews with members of the Fit-N-Wise staff putting on the event and Jackie’s father Patrick, I took my place at the starting line to battle a tough north wind during race. On the out and back portion of the course, I waved and congratulated runners as we met on the street.

Among the runners on the course that morning was one for whom reaching the finish line just a short time before seemed an impossible feat – Angie Fowler.

A skiing accident in 2011 followed by a MRSA infection in 2015 cost Fowler her lower right leg. When she went into septic shock, it became a battle for her life.

“My organs started shutting down, and they didn’t think I was going to make it,” Fowler said during a May interview. “I started going into cardiac arrest, and my fever was 106.7. They told my family to start making arrangements.”

Against the odds, Fowler pulled through, to the amazement of her doctors, family and friends. But she faced a long road in recovery, including 40 surgeries in three years.

After fighting depression, Fowler met Candice Davis at Fire Forged Barbell. With Davis’ backing and coaching, Fowler quickly became hooked to working out and found a new outlook on life.

“Honestly, this girl saved my life,” Fowler said. “It put me in a whole new mindset. She’s become one of my closest friends now.

“I never thought I could do anything that I’m doing now. When I was in the hospital, I could never see myself walking on a treadmill or lifting weights. I never thought I’d get to where I am today.”

That cold day in April, Fowler found herself finishing her first 5K with her daughters and their friends greeting her at the finish line.

It was the first of three 5Ks, she planned to finish as part of her application for a sport prosthetic, which can cost between $50,000 and $60,000. Insurance will not pay for the upgraded prosthetic. She is attempting to get a grant to cover a portion of the cost.

Fowler has finished another race and is planning to tackle the third early in 2019 to complete her application. Last week, she said she had some medical setbacks, but she’s back to normal and working out.

Since her story ran in the Messenger in May, a television station in the Metroplex also did a piece.

She’s been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community.

“It’s been surreal with all the comments. Hundreds of people commented about how I’ve come so far,” Fowler said. “Anywhere I’d go in town, people would say, ‘You’re the girl in the paper.'”

Fowler has also had family members of patients undergoing or that had recently went through an amputation reach out to her.

“They would message me about an amputation and ask I could speak with people,” Fowler said. “Three people I called and talked to and one I went and saw in the hospital. I’ve give them an idea what the next few months would be like. I wanted to make them feel better about the situation they are in.”

Fowler said she will be applying for a program where she will meet and talk with other amputees as she searches for other avenues to help others.

Which based on her inspiring and powerful words in May after her first 5K, it is not surprising to see.

“It could always be worse,” Fowler said. “I thought this was life ending. Now, I realize that I can overcome these things It changes your perspective on life completely.”

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