‘Enabled’ Amy dancing her way to the top

Written By Unknown on Senin, 10 Maret 2014 | 23.40

An Instagram photo of Amy Purdy. Source: Supplied

AMY Purdy lost both her legs at the age of 19 but in Sochi this week she's snowboarding by day and dancing by night.

American TV series 'Dancing With The Stars' has sent a crew to Sochi so Purdy can practice for her debut on the show in Los Angeles next week.

The 34-year-old from Las Vegas is competing in snowboard cross on Friday as the only double amputee in the field, courageously taking on single amputees and those with both their legs but another physical impairment.

After competition she flies straight to the US for the series premiere which will be shown nationwide.

The snowboarder, motivational speaker, actor and model this week Tweeted a photo of her dance partner Derek Hough:

"Just finished snowboard training for the day and looking forward to meeting this hunk on the dancefloor."

Purdy is one of the most marketable athletes in the US and has inspired thousands of people to overcome their own obstacles.

At the age of 19 she graduated from high school and became a massage therapist when she went home one day with what she thought was the flu.

Within 24 hours she was on life support in hospital and given a two per cent chance of surviving when diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

In the next two months Purdy lost her spleen, kidneys, hearing in her left ear and both legs below the knee.

"When my parents wheeled me out of the hospital I felt like I had been pieced back together like a patchwork doll," she says in a speech titled 'Living Beyond Limits' which has been viewed more than 625,000 times on YouTube.

"I thought the worst was over until weeks later when I saw my legs for the first time.

"The calves were bulky blocks of metal with pipes bolted together for ankles and the yellow rubber foot with the raised rubber line from the toe to the ankle to look like a vein."

Purdy, who has been snowboarding since she was 15, said her biggest fear at the time was how she would travel the world and ever snowboard again.

After weeks of struggling to get out of bed, she eventually "let go of the old Amy and embraced the new Amy".

She found feet that she could snowboard in, received a new kidney from her father, got back on the snow and in 2005 co-founded an organisation to help young people with disabilities get involved with action sports.

Purdy said she wouldn't change a thing about her journey.

"Because my legs haven't disabled me, if anything they've enabled me.

"They've forced me to rely on my imagination and to believe in the possibilities.

"In our minds we can do anything, we can be anything, it's believing in those dreams and facing those fears head on that allows us to live our lives beyond our limits."

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