Amy Purdy is a double amputee.
When Amy was 19 years old she contracted bacterial meningitis and was given less than a two percent chance of survival. She lost her spleen, her kidneys, the hearing in her left ear, and both of her legs below the knee. For many, overcoming illness and disability would be challenge enough. Not Amy. She has gone on to become an amputee advocate, the founder of her own non-profit, a motivational speaker, a para-olympian, and the highest ranked adaptive female snowboarder in the world. Now here she is, an actual contender for this season's mirror ball trophy.
It's shocking in every way, really. A dancing contestant with no feet seems like an impossible probability. But every week Amy shows up, and every week Amy astounds audiences and judges alike with her incredible ability to dance. Gracefully. Beautifully. Even better than some of the contestants who have two of their own legs to stand on. Amy Purdy leaves me teary-eyed and speechless on most Monday nights.
I love what Derek Hough, her pro dancing partner, quoted her on during one of the live interviews immediately following their routine:
It's not what you have, or what you don't have, but what you give.I can't get her words out of my head. There are so many experiences and adventures in life that I flippantly disqualify myself from based on what I don't have. I don't have enough money . . . I don't have enough time . . . I don't have enough energy . . . I don't have enough talent . . . I don't . . . I don't . . . I don't . . . I don't . . . Watching Amy Purdy dance her way through the ballroom every Monday night, I'm challenged to see past my own excuses. To look beyond them to what I could be. What I could do. Who I could become. Watching Amy dance, I'm pretty sure she believes she can do anything. The question I've started asking myself is why don't I?
- PS -
If you haven't already seen one of Amy and Derek's routines, you really need to stop what you're doing and click on one of these videos now.
- Dancing with the Stars Week 5 | Amy Purdy & Derek Hough dancing the Waltz (2:40-4:25)
- Dancing with the Stars Week 6 | Amy Purdy & Derek Hough dancing the Jive (2:13-3:56)
- PPS -
In 2011 Amy did an incredibly inspiring Ted talk called Living Beyond Limits which is totally worth your time as well :).