ST. LOUIS, Mo. — It was five days before graduation, time to celebrate, make summer plans and prepare for college. A day out with friends on an ATV near St. Albans would change life completely for one local teenager.
“My boyfriend, at the time, was driving and trying to do donuts. It was on gravel and he took a sharp left turn. It flipped the ATV on my side. My leg got dragged underneath it and all of my toes were ripped off,” said Chloe Peistrup.
The minutes and hours thereafter were some of the scariest for Chloe. They were in the middle of nowhere, with barely a charge on the cellphone battery, and wondering if anyone was going to be able to find them.
“It took an hour for help to find us and then an hour ride to the hospital,” said Chloe Peistrup. “I was so scared because I didn’t know if my mom was on her way, or where she was, and my dad was out of town.”
Chloe was able to call her family.
“Chloe said through the phone, ‘my toes are gone, my toes are gone.’ We jumped in the car and drove as fast as I could,” said Janet Peistrup.
It was the longest 45-minute drive of her life, to get to her, and follow the ambulance to the hospital.
“That night I went in for reconstructive surgery. They cut off the part of my foot that was ripped off. It was basically just my heel, and they patched it up. Then, a couple days later, they did the amputation,” said Chloe Peistrup.
The days and weeks thereafter would have Chloe meeting and forming a new bond with her prosthetist at the Hanger Clinic.
“There’s a lot of physical limitations at first that we have to help them with, as well as emotional. So, we kind of have to play the role of several different people at once,” said Hanger Clinic Prosthetist Jerod Wexstten.
Wexstten can relate. He is an amputee following a motocross accident in 2006. He went from a patient to designing prosthetics for the Hanger Clinic. Chloe and he bonded over the amazing path life took them both on.
“I cut out the people who were negative influences and I started being more caring. Appreciating every day that I have,” said Jerod Wexstten.
And little did she know that she would challenge herself beyond learning to walk to take on Tough Mudder, an extreme obstacle challenge.
“I was like, ‘Mind over matter. I’m going to push through this and I’m going to finish this dang thing.'” said Chloe Peistrup.
She finished the obstacle course, through a lot of pain. The next day she said to her mom that if there was one the next day, she would do it again.
“She said it was that much fun, it was worth it,” said Janet Peistrup.
As to where her life is taking her now. She will be starting Maryville University in the fall to study psychology, focusing on patients with PTSD therapy, and help others find the positive in all situations. To find out more about the Hanger Clinic for Prosthetics and Orthotics log on to hangerclinic.com. There are six locations in our area.