At 19, after experiencing flu-like symptoms, Amy was rushed to the hospital in a state of septic shock. En route, she experienced respiratory and multiple organ failure which caused her to lose circulation to her extremities. When she entered into the hospital she was given less than a 2% chance of survival, put on life support and placed into a coma. After multiple blood transfusions, and the removal of her ruptured spleen, doctors diagnosed Amy with Meningococcal Meningitis, a vaccine preventable bacterial infection. Due to the lack of circulation she had suffered doctors had to amputate her legs below the knee. She later received a donated kidney from her father a week before her 21st birthday.
After going through this life-altering experience, Amy challenged herself to move on with her life and attain goals that even those who have both legs struggle to achieve. Just three months after her kidney transplant, Amy entered the USASA National Snowboarding Championship where she won medals in three events. Today, she is one of the top ranked adaptive snowboarders in the world, and was the 2014 Paralympic Bronze Medalist. She is the only double leg amputee competing at the world class level.
Amy’s creativity, positive outlook and her never give up attitude have opened doors to many other opportunities including being featured in a Madonna music video, a lead actress role in an award winning independent film and multiple creative modeling projects including a photo shoot with musician and artist Nikki Sixx where her legs were custom made from steel to look like ice picks.
Amy has evolved into a powerful inspirational and motivational speaker who has literally been seen by millions of people and invited to share her story to audiences around the world. In addition, Amy’s shared her remarkable story alongside Oprah Winfrey, as part of Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour.
Amy’s story and images have been featured in numerous national and international publications, and in 2012 she and her longtime boyfriend, Daniel Gale, raced around the world on The Amazing Race. In May of 2013 Amy was named by the International Olympic Committee as one of the top 15 most marketable Para-athletes in the world.
Although Amy has numerous accomplishments, she is most proud of co-founding Adaptive Action Sports. Created in 2005, AAS is a non-profit organization which helps those with permanent disabilities to get involved in action sports. AAS has partnered with ESPN and runs “adaptive” action sport competitions at the summer and winter ESPN X Games. These events were instrumental in getting adaptive snowboarding added to the 2014 Paralympic Games.
In the Spring of 2014, Amy inspired millions of fans with her stunning performances on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, eventually becoming the show’s runner up. She is now in the process of launching a new clothing line in partnership with Element Eden (due out for Spring 2015).
In her book, On My Own Two Feet, Amy takes readers inside her childhood and up to the defining life or death moment. Despite the grim prognosis, she was determined to not just beat the odds and walk again but to create a life filled with bold adventures, big dreams, and boundless vitality—and share that spirit with the world.
Amy is now in the process of launching her own clothing line, The Amy Purdy Collection, in partnership with Element Eden (due out for Spring 2016).
In March of 2018, Amy returned to the Paralympic Games, this time in PyeongChang, Korea, where she won silver and bronze medals.