Amy Purdy
American actress, model, world-class snowboarder, 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist, co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports, author of On My Own Two Feet
At age 19, Amy Purdy contracted Neisseria meningitis, a form of bacterial meningitis.[1] The disease affected her circulatory system when the infection led to septic shock;[2] both of her legs had to be amputated below the knee, she lost both kidneys,[3] and her spleen had to be removed.[1] Sepsis is when an infection causes an inflammatory response, leading to organ failure or clinical shock,[4] and is a common cause of death. In Purdy's case, she went into septic shock in less than 24 hours of getting sick. Doctors gave Purdy only a 2% chance to survive since her sepsis was so advanced.[5] Two years later, she received a kidney transplant from her father.[1]

Purdy began snowboarding seven months after she received her prosthetic legs. About a year after her legs were amputated, she finished third in a snowboarding competition at Mammoth Mountain. Subsequently, she received a grant from the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), a non-profit organization. Through this grant, she was able to compete in several snowboarding competitions in the U.S.

In 2003, Purdy was recruited by the CAF as spokesperson, and she moved to San Diego to be closer to the CAF headquarters. In San Diego, she continued her pre-amputee profession as a massage therapist. She also became involved in the modeling and acting industry. In February 2003, she played a model in a Madonna music video.[1] Later in 2003, Purdy started working for Freedom Innovations, a prosthetic feet manufacturer, as its "Amputee Advocate".

She has gone on to co-found her own non-profit organization, Adaptive Action Sports,[6] a chapter of Disabled Sports USA[7] for individuals with physical disabilities who want to get involved in action sports (snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing) or art and music.[1][8]

In 2005, Purdy made her film debut in What's Bugging Seth, a movie by Eli Steele.

In 2014, she was named one of ESPNW's Impact 25.[9]

“Amy Purdy is far more than an Olympic champion. She is a pioneer and a beacon of strength. Her honest and sharply written memoir leaves me feeling as uplifted as I do when I spend time in her presence. She brings the same passion, courage and open-heartedness to these pages that she brings to each day she navigates the world—one carbon-fiber and steel foot at a time.”

Elizabeth Gilbert