Stories of Resilience: Julie Barr Smith


“Life doesn’t end when you become an amputee; it just becomes your new normal. I’m back doing everything I did before, like running 5k races and hiking.”

I first got sick on November 16th with flu-like symptoms and within 18 hours I was in cardiac arrest at the ER. My heart stopped for 8 minutes, and they performed CPR on me for 11 minutes. 

I was put on a ventilator and induced into a coma for two weeks. I had less than a 1% chance of living through the night. When I woke up, my hands and feet were black. Doctors were waiting to see if I would improve, but on December 20th, 2012, my left leg was amputated below the knee, 34 days after becoming sick and being admitted into the hospital. 

I was playing roller derby at the time, and when I was told I would lose my leg, I looked over at my dad and said I’m never going to play derby again, and we cried. I also said we couldn’t tell mom because it would devastate her. But the next morning, she asked how I was coping. My dad did tell her. I told her I was ok. I was going to think positively enough to get better. It didn’t work. My leg was amputated; however, I only lost my toes on my right foot and left fingertips.

I practiced resilience by trying to see the positives in any situation and staying upbeat for my family and friends who came to visit. No one wants to visit someone who is down and depressed. So, I looked for the silver linings and made many jokes.

Are you ready to share your story of RESILIENCE? You can do that HERE.