Industry Updates

Female Amputee Overcomes with Humour and Tenacity

26 Jan 2013

Ally Ogston is a woman with a lot of heart. The courageous amputee has not let the loss of her leg stand in her way, even though she has had to overcome many challenges. Instead, she is an outspoken champion for amputees everywhere, forging ahead and taking joy out of everyday life.

Ally is an attractive, bubbly professional singer and talent agent. She also happens to be an RAK (Right Above the Knee)-amputee.

Her effervescent personality is underpinned by a strength of character that is rarely seen in the entertainment industry. This strength of character was tempered by her long road to recovery after losing her leg in a horrific accident.

She recalls the day of the accident vividly. “I was on my way home from a gig on Easter Sunday in 1995 and we were T-boned by another car as we were turning onto the Snake Road off-ramp in Benoni.  The car swung around and bounced off two robots (so I am told). 

I had my seatbelt on as a passenger, and the door flew open.  The bottom half of me was mangled under the car.  As luck would have it, an ambulance was travelling past us to another accident, and they picked me up instead.  I woke up a week later with massive internal injuries, a missing leg and no medical aid…it was a long road from there…,” she recounts. 

Coming to terms with her loss was an almost insurmountable challenge for Ally. “I was an angry young woman back then,” she explains. “I think in the beginning, all new amputees are very self-conscious of their new and altered bodies.  It is a frightening journey to begin, and most of us feel very alone. 

For me, all those years ago, it was like I was the only amputee on the planet.  Either that, or all the other amputees were kept somewhere in closets.  People stare, they always do.  Heck, I even take a second look when I spot another amputee. But it’s very hard to get past that in the beginning. 

I believe that it takes at least five years to come to terms with your loss, your new body image and what other people think.” 

About ten years ago, Ally was in a particularly bad place emotionally. The prosthetic knee that she was using broke and the socket was so uncomfortable that it was causing her constant pain. She was also without medical aid, and not in a financial position to afford a new, professionally made prosthetic leg.

“I started scouring the internet and I came across a site which was trying to raise funds for a young amputee girl, and one of the donating prosthetists was Marco Du Plooy. So, I decided to phone him… From the get-go Marco was so nice and encouraging, and in my opinion he is the only reason I am mobile today. He has built me numerous legs, and I have loved them all. 

I now walk with a MAS socket, peppered with purple flowers, a 3R60 knee and a very cute foot that allows me to wear shoes with different heal sizes.”

According to Ally, the use of good quality prosthetics can improve an amputee’s quality of life significantly. That, coupled with her sense of humour and determined attitude got her to a place where she is a happy, well-adjusted person today. However, she remains adamant that it is a struggle for a normal person to deal with the loss of a limb.

“People don’t realise how difficult an expensive it is for a normal, everyday Joe to find good prosthetics and the support you need – I was blessed to find someone like Marco, who practices the building of limbs as an art…and who worked with me until my prosthetic leg fitted perfectly.”

Ally knows all too well that most amputees do not run Olympic races or climb mountains, that’s why she lives by the philosophy that ‘courage does not always roar.  Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying “I will try again tomorrow’.

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