Amy Purdy Lost Her Legs Due to an Illness but Managed to Get on a Snowboard and Compete in the Paralympics
Paralympic champion Amy Purdy is a hero of our time. After having both her legs amputated, she once again learned to walk and snowboard and has excelled in the latter so much that she managed to build a career as a professional athlete. Amy is a virtuoso on the board, a fiery dancer, and a passionate motivational speaker. Her influence is so great that Oprah has even included her in the SuperSoul 100. This group of innovators is united by a mission to move humanity forward.
Lost her legs to the “flu”
Amy was working as a massage therapist and making plans for her future when she started experiencing flu-like symptoms. Nineteen-year-old Purdy just wasn’t getting better and was eventually hospitalized in a state of septic shock. In the ambulance, they found that she had no blood circulation in her extremities. On arrival at the hospital, the doctors assessed Amy’s chances of living. The figure was very low — only 2%.
Amy’s condition was so severe that she was on life support and put in a medically induced coma. They removed her ruptured spleen and gave her several blood transfusions. Only after doing this were the doctors able to diagnose Purdy. They found meningococcal meningitis in her system. This deadly bacterial infection had robbed Amy of her kidneys and both legs below the knee. She had a kidney transplant the day before her 21st birthday. The organ donor was Purdy’s own father.
She got on a snowboard not even a year later.
After extensive treatments, a leg amputation, and a kidney transplant, Amy began to set herself goals that even those who have both their legs wouldn’t dare to dream of. Purdy had only been using prostheses for seven months when she got on a snowboard. And after her kidney transplant, only 3 months passed before she managed to win 3 medals at the USASA Snowboard National Championships. Today, Amy is the most decorated Paralympic snowboarder in US history and a 3-time Paralympic medallist.
She changed the face of Paralympics.
With her husband Daniel Gale, Purdy founded Adaptive Action Sports. This organization helps people with disabilities to skateboard, snowboard, and do other active sports. Amy’s initiatives didn’t stop there. The athlete managed to get para-snowboarding included in the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics. At the same Paralympics, Purdy won bronze in snowboard cross.
She got to the final of Dancing with the Stars.
Amy doesn’t only combine a career as a professional athlete with that of a massage therapist, she also manages to be creative. Purdy does modeling, appears in films and music videos (she’s been in one of Madonna’s videos), does motivational speaking, and takes part in TV shows. Together with her husband, the champion participated in the adventure reality show The Amazing Race. While on Dancing with the Stars, Amy and her partner Derek Hough came in second place.
Amy became the first contestant, who has two amputated limbs, to appear on the legendary dance show. Hough, who had already won Dancing with the Stars 5 times, wasn’t going to participate in the new season, but when he found out who his partner would be, he immediately changed his mind.
She wrote a bestselling book.
Amy’s life experience is unique. The story of a champion with bionic legs has been immortalized in Purdy’s biography, which became a NY Times bestseller. In her book On My Own Two Feet, the celebrity shares details of her spiritual development. The athlete recounts the visions that came to her during her illness and the choice she made to live and inspire others.
She became the star of the Super Bowl.
In 2015, a Toyota Camry ad starring Amy Purdy aired during the Super Bowl. Millions of viewers were impressed by the athlete’s “superpowers.” In this ad, Amy was snowboarding, posing for photographers, dancing, and repairing her prosthetic legs — all set to Muhammad Ali’s famous speech “How Great I Am.” Some critics have pointed out that Purdy’s performance is so mesmerizing that you forget it’s an advert for a car.
She couldn’t walk for three years.
In 2019, Amy’s life was once again in danger. She injured her femoral and hamstring arteries. Purdy underwent 10 operations and two more partial lower limb amputations to regain her ability to walk.
For three years, the athlete was not allowed to walk on her two feet, but she didn’t give up. Eventually, Amy stood up and learned to walk again for the third time in her life. All the while, Purdy was sharing the psychological difficulties she faced and details of her surgeries and medical procedures on social media: “I’ve realized I can inspire even more by being vulnerable and sharing my journey along the way.”
She’s not ruling out adoption.
In March 2022, Amy retired from her sporting career and withdrew from further competition. But Purdy can’t remain idle. She travels the world as a motivational speaker, giving lectures and attending meetings, as well as running a charity organization with her husband, where she coaches children para-athletes.
The star has also thought about having children of her own but doesn’t know if she will take the step: “I kinda feel like our organization is our kid. It’s something we’re always working towards, we’re passionate about it, and we’re always growing it. There’s so much that I want to do that I don’t know if kids are really in my future, although my husband was adopted and many people in his family were adopted, so we’re very open to adoption.”
Who do you consider to be the heroes of our time? And who is your role model?