Tunica native Madysen Acey, 21, is a University of Mississippi student who was electrocuted at age 10 and lost half of her arm. She endured a painful recovery and now has a remarkable story. With surfer Bethany Hamilton as her biggest inspiration, Acey has learned how to live life to the fullest.
“The biggest struggle for me was figuring out my new place in life,” she said. “I was so young that it was easy to re-adapt to everything, but it was still scary to overcome that fear of what everyone thought would be the hardest part.”
As she and her friend were playing on a cotton picker, Acey clung to a fallen power line to catch her fall, and she was electrocuted with 10,000 volts. She lost half of her arm and had to learn to live again without it.
The recovery process was difficult, but she pushed through. She spent one day in a Memphis hospital and was sent to a burn center for children in Cincinnati the next day, where she stayed for almost two months. while there, she had approximately 30 surgeries. Four months after returning from the hospital, Acey broke her femur and was in a wheelchair for six weeks.
Hamilton, a Hawaiian surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack, has been Acey’s biggest inspiration since the accident. She holds the “Beautifully Flawed Retreat” every year for girls ages 15-30 who have lost limbs that gives them the opportunity to meet others, learn lessons from each other, do devotions, surf, and form relationships with people with similar life experiences.
“It literally is the best part of the year for all of us, even the moms and people who aren’t amputees who are there,” she said. “It makes us feel so good, puts us in a good mood, and helps us get through the year.”
The biggest lesson Acey learned through recovery was to never give up. Her life motto is, “Life is not about what you’ve lost, but it’s about what you have.” She encourages anyone going through a similar experience to focus on the positives, not the negatives.
“If you dwell on what you’ve lost, then you’re going to be sad forever,” she said. “No matter what your circumstances are, you just have to learn to stay positive.”