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’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.
Amy is highly experienced and requested professional speaker. Amy’s TED talk was chosen by the TED organization out of hundreds to be featured on the homepage of TED.com catapulting her speaking career into the national and international corporate speaking world. Currently her TED talk is distributed to new, incoming TED speakers as the #1 recommended sample presentation. It has been viewed millions of times and translated into multiple languages.
Since Amy’s TED Talk she has gone on to live an inspired and accomplished life pulling lessons along the way and sharing them with the world. in 2015 Amy toured with Oprah Winfrey across the country speaking to stadiums of 15,000 people plus during the Toyota sponsored “Life You Want” tour. Amy is an in demand speaker for Fortune 500 companies, organizations, special events, corporate retreats and more.
These are some of the best ratings we have ever had for a speaker. Amy was certainly a hit with our members. She couldn’t have been nicer to everyone who met her either. Whether it be walking to the session or at the book signing, she took time to chat with all.
"Amy's presentation was one of the major highlights of our event. She captured everyone in the audience with her amazing story. Our group was so inspired that she had thousands of people on their feet for a standing ovation not only at the end of her presentation, but IN THE MIDDLE of it! She was absolutely lovely and easy-going to work with. We loved how she connected with our audience and we have received lots of excellent feedback about her session.