Ashley Judd is recovering after a “catastrophic” leg accident in a Congo rainforest.
During an Instagram Live chat from her ICU bed with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, the actress detailed how she nearly lost her leg.
The animal rights activist was walking in a Congo rainforest, doing work to track the endangered Bonobos (a great ape species) when she tripped over a fallen tree and shattered her leg.
Judd told Kristof of the “incredibly harrowing 55 hours” being transported from Congo to a hospital in South Africa, which included being carried by hand and a six hour motorbike ride.
Judd also held up the stick she bit while in pain and “howling like a wild animal.”
On Tuesday, Judd shared photos on Instagram of her being carried on a stretcher and being treated by locals.
“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,” she wrote, before sharing some of their own stories.
Despite nearly losing her leg, Judd used the moment to shed light on how she was lucky enough to be able to be transported to a proper medical facility, but more Congolese people would have either had their leg amputated or died.
“The difference between a Congolese person and me is disaster insurance that allowed me 55 hours after my accident to get to an operating table in South Africa,” she told Kristof in their conversation, pointing out that Congo villages not only don’t have electricity but “a simple pill to kill the pain when you’ve shattered a leg in four places and have nerve damage.”
On Judd’s own Instagram page, she asked people to listen to her talk with Kristof to learn why “Bonobos matter.”
Adding, “And so do the people in whose ancestral forest they range and the other 25,600,000 Congolese in need of humanitarian assistance.”