When she was only 19, Amy was in the best shape of her life. She was healthy and active up until the day she was rushed to the hospital in a state of septic shock. Within minutes she experienced respiratory and organ failure. The doctors diagnosed her with bacterial meningitis and gave her less than a 2 percent chance of survival. She spent two weeks in a coma and narrowly avoided death. When she awoke, the doctors tole her that her legs needed to be amputated due to the damage caused by the lack of circulation. Two years later, she also needed a kidney transplant.
Determined to defy all of the odds, just three months after receiving the transplant, Purdy competed in a national snowboarding championship and medaled in three events.
But it was only the beginning of Purdy’s remarkable journey. She would go on to win a Bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and she competed on Dancing With The Stars. She even finished as a runners up, with only four days between her competition in Sochi and the premiere of the dance competition show. Purdy also co-founded Adaptive Action Sports, a nonprofit that empowers people living with permanent disabilities to get involved in action sports.
“What got me through was gratitude, just being grateful for what I did have,” Purdy said. “Grateful that I was alive, because I nearly died multiple times from organ failure and my spleen rupturing and I was in emergency surgery and flat-lined multiple times. So I remember thinking: Just losing my legs isn’t as bad as it could have been. And I still kind of carry that through my life.”
Purdy stopped by the studio to talk about living beyond limits and why she’s driven to prove that the things that happen to us do not define who we are. Follow Amy Purdy on Twitter @AmyPurdyGurl
“It’s amazing the strength that you find in yourself when you have to use it,” Purdy said.