Ashley Judd has been traveling to Congo to study the endangered primate species of the bonobo over the years. However, unlike previous trips, this one took a turn for the worst when she fell while walking in the forest which nearly caused her to lose her leg.
Judd, known for her acting and activism, opened up about the accident after enduring 55-hours of pain while trying to get medical attention. The 52-year-old recounted her story when she updated her followers via Instagram on Tuesday.
After the fall, she was stuck on the ground for five hours with a “badly misshapen leg,” biting a stick because of pain, and “howling like a wild animal.”
She was taken to a local hospital on a motorcycle while holding the top part of her broken tibia together.
Ashley Judd Credits ‘Congolese Brothers And Sisters’ In Saving Her Life
“Without my Congolese brothers and sisters, my internal bleeding would have likely killed me, and I would have lost my leg. I wake up weeping in gratitude, deeply moved by each person who contributed something life giving and spirit salving during my grueling 55 hour odyssey,” Judd wrote.
Ashley Judd said she and her partner visit the Congo twice a year. She had returned there recently and was walking with researchers when the accident occurred. Since they were walking around 4:30 in the morning, the visibility was low despite having headlamps.
“The six men who carefully moved me into the hammock with as little jostling as possible, who then walked for 3 hours over rough terrain carrying me out. Heros. Didier and Maradona: Didier drove the motorbike. I sat facing backwards, his back my backrest. When I would begin to slump, to pass out, he would call to me to re-set my position to lean on him. Maradona rode on the very back of the motorbike, I faced him. He held my broken leg under the heel and I held the shattered top part together with my two hands.”
Ashley Judd wanted to use the opportunity to raise awareness of issues of poverty and animal protection. She was there on a research project on bonobos, a species of endangered primates.
“Maradona was the only person to come forward to volunteer for this task. We have a nice friendship, discussing the pros and cons of polygamy and monogamy. I show two pictures, one in his hat and one in mine, which he dearly covets! The women! My sisters who held me. They blessed me.”