AGAWAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- An Agawam woman has spoken out after losing part of her leg in a boating accident last week on Congamond Lake.
Western Mass News spoke with her from her hospital bed.
Alli Stuetzel said if she was told a year ago that she was going to lose her leg, she would have, understandably, been frantic, but in the heat of the emergency and the days recovering, her spirit is a lesson in strength.
She told us she fell out of a boat and into the water at Congamond Lake last Thursday. When she kicked off from the boat, to gain her bearings, the feeling in her leg changed.
"It felt as though there was a deep cut," she explained.
Stuetzel told Western Mass News, from her hospital bed, a friend jumped in and brought her to safety, as she made the decision not to look at her leg.
She said a paramedic, on a nearby boat, saw the whole thing and went into action, wrapping her leg.
"I was like, 'Look, I need to ask you something. Like, do I have a foot or not?' he’s like 'Honestly, no,'" she said.
Remaining conscious until the ambulance arrived, Stuetzel made it to the hospital.
"The boat propeller cut it in half, and it was hanging on by like a little piece of like skin," Stuetzel explained.
She also said her leg needed to be amputated up higher on her shin to fit a prosthetic leg. A new challenge Stuetzel has accepted with the calm and collected attitude that has amazed her family and friends, even joking about running a race in a year after physical therapy.
"'We’ll make like a little 50-yard dash, and we’ll line up more or less,' I was like to my friends," she added.
Her sister, Mckenzie, put together a GoFundMe and a hashtag “AlliStrong” to help raise money for a prosthetic leg and said the support is overwhelming.
"Even strangers reaching out and like sharing their stories, like letting Alli know that she’s not the only one who has been through stuff like this, it's great," Mckenzie explained.
Stuetzel added, "I'm ok with it. I accepted it, and this is part of my life now, and I just got to move forward."
If you want to donate to the GoFundMe to help Alli with a new prosthetic leg, you can click here.