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Local Woman Perseveres After Devastating Accident

Writer / Renee Larr
Photography Provided

Ashley MillerA decision to go for a ride in a friend’s truck changed Ashley Miller’s life forever. She had recently graduated from high school and enlisted in the Navy.

“I decided to go out with some friends one evening before I was supposed to leave for basic training,” Miller says. “None of us were wearing seat belts. The driver overcorrected, which sent the truck flipping over. I flew out of the car, and first responders found me lying face down in a ditch.”

The injuries she sustained were life-threatening. She was taken to IU Health Bloomington Hospital, and eventually transported via LifeLine to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

“The ride was 15 minutes from Bloomington to Methodist,” Miller says. “During the flight, they lost me for eight minutes. They lost me again once I got to the hospital. I broke and dislocated my neck, broke my back, shattered my pelvis, my hip socket and tailbone, punctured both lungs, and fractured eight ribs.”

About one year after Miller’s devastating car accident, she met Grant Mansard and began a relationship.

“I found out I was pregnant,” Miller says. “We found out at 28 weeks that our daughter had a rare chromosome deletion. When we found out, I was devastated. Here I was still recovering from my accident, and then to get this news – I felt like my whole world was crushed.”

Miller shares her daughter Madi’s journey, along with her own story of overcoming incredible odds, at instagram.com/lovebeyondrare.

“Madi’s chromosome deletion is extremely rare,” Miller says. “I think there are only 60 cases worldwide. In sharing her story, we’ve met three families with the same condition as Madi. I’ve met so many people who also had spinal cord injuries. The page has just taken off, and I have about 8,000 followers now.”

Ashley MillerMiller named her Instagram handle “Love Beyond Rare” in honor of her daughter and her diagnosis.

“I came up with the name because I wanted to show there is love beyond a rare diagnosis or love beyond a terrible car accident,” Miller says.

Recently, Miller was able to meet the LifeLine team who saved her.

“I was able to meet Lisa, Eric and Ivan,” Miller says. “I know they do their job without expecting a thank-you, but I wanted to tell them thank you and put faces with the names. Lisa told me I was only the second person she’s met, and she’s been doing this a very long time.”

At first Miller wasn’t sure why she even survived the car accident, but found meaning in her unexpected pregnancy.

“I had to relearn how to walk, and it was a huge change for an 18-year-old high school graduate,” Miller says. “Then I met Grant, and we had Madi. Suddenly, I had a reason to get up every day. I had a reason to eat right, to take care of my baby. I’m so thankful for her every single day.”

The couple lives in Westfield with their children, Madi, 6, and Isabelle, 2.  

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