This Double-Amputee Olympian’s Inspiring Message: Courage Is Within Us All

Olympic medalist Amy Purdy after getting both of her legs amputated. (Photo: Facebook/Amy Purdy)
Olympic medalist Amy Purdy after getting both of her legs amputated. (Photo: Facebook/Amy Purdy)

World-class snowboarder and Paralympic medalist Amy Purdy’s story has been inspiring the masses for decades now. From sharing the speaker stage with Oprah to sharing the dancing stage with Derek Hough, her journey is one to be admired. In a recent Facebook post, however, she reminded us that the courage she’s demonstrated throughout her career was in her even before both her legs were amputated.

Purdy tells Yahoo Beauty, “I found this old photo on my phone last night and did the post on a whim, but I didn’t know it would get so much traction. This goes to show that everyone is dealing with something, a struggle, and we can all relate on that level. As humans, we need to reach out for support.”

Her message — “No matter what your circumstances are, don’t ever give up on yourself,” — has generated nearly 16,000 likes and more than 500 comments from people who clearly identify with her struggle.

I stumbled across this photo today. This was just days after having both of my legs amputated. I was devastated, I was sick, in kidney failure, 83 pounds, I lost the hearing in my left ear, my body was a wreck. I had been poked with countless needles, I had been cut into numerous times. I was literally patched back together like a patchwork doll. Yet, I have a smile on my face because you know what… I was still Amy, and nobody could ever take that away from me. I still had my family, the same hopes, dreams and goals. I just needed a new way to do them. In fact when I was wheeled into surgery, I gave myself 3 goals 1. To never feel sorry for myself. 2. To snowboard that year and 3. When I figured this mess out, I vowed to help others. And I'm proud to say, that I accomplished all of them and ended up going further then I ever could have imagined. I didn't just snowboard, I won a medal in the Olympic/Paralympic Games. I didn't just help others, I have become one of the top requested motivational speakers in the country and started my own organization @adaptiveactionsports . But most importantly… I never ever gave up on myself. No matter what your circumstances are, don't ever give up on yourself. You are important and your contribution to this world and humanity is needed. You can be whatever you want to be. But there isn't anyone who is going to figure it out for you, you have to figure it out for yourself. Visualizing my future was the strongest most impactful thing I could have ever done for myself. It laid a roadmap to where I am today. I'm grateful that my amazing friends in this photo Johnny Black and Shane Byrd were by my side the entire way. ????✨???? #throwbackthursday #throwback #lifeisajourney #survivor

A post shared by Amy Purdy (@amypurdygurl) on Jun 1, 2017 at 6:50pm PDT

“Wow, you are just amazing! I am reading your book and am up to your sister’s wedding. You have proven that anything can be accomplished with hard work and determination. Keep on going!!!” said one commenter.

Purdy lost her legs and a kidney due to bacterial meningitis, a deadly blood infection, at the age of 19. She decided before having surgery she was not going to feel sorry for herself.

“When I was being wheeled in, I was scared to death,” she says. “But I figured out what do with what was left. There was no time to dwell. I set clear goals and those goals pulled me through.”

Just over a month after her surgery, Purdy was walking at her sister’s wedding. She went on to snowboard and won a bronze medal at the 2014 Paralympic Games, and, along with her husband, Daniel Gale, co-founded Adaptive Action Sports, the first nonprofit organization that creates action sports camps, events, and programs for youth, young adults and wounded veterans living with permanent physical disabilities — all dedicated to snowboarding and skateboarding.

And this one time…… ✨???????????????? Who else is watching #dwts most memorable year tonight?! I went into #dwts thinking I would learn to salsa and cha cha, I had no idea we would create a dance that was so deeply emotional and meaningful for myself, my family and so many around the world. What a gift this opportunity was! Looking forward to watching all of the dances tonight and good luck to everyone!! With @derekhough #dancingwiththestars #dwts #purdyhough

A post shared by Amy Purdy (@amypurdygurl) on Apr 10, 2017 at 5:52pm PDT

“I feel that losing both my legs was a blessing, it was meant to happen to me, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to touch so many lives in such a positive way,” says Purdy. “I worked really, really hard to get to where I am today. I could have easily just stayed in bed and given up.” Among the other job titles she has added to her résumé since her surgery are actress, model, professional motivational speaker, clothing designer, and author.

In another recent Instagram post, she shared that she was diagnosed with Rhabdomyolysis, or muscle deterioration, in her arms last October.

So, I'm going to be honest. I have had some rough days over the last few months. Many of you know that I got Rhabdomyolysis in my arms in October. The recovery has been brutal, more mentally then physically. I'm used to my arms being strong, I'm used to being able to jump into workouts and push myself and I have been forced to take things very slow. Well, I'm proud to say that although my arms aren't 100% yet, I am able to train! I'm doing the workouts that I did before except with much lighter weight. But here's the thing. The longer we live, the more crap is going to come our way. It's not about avoiding it, the quality of our lives are determined by how we handle it. How we dust ourselves off and keep going. I think the best thing we can do for ourselves when life sends us a curveball is to stop comparing ourselves to who we were yesterday and to start pushing ourselves to be everything we can be today! I will come back stronger then before, there is no other option. I shot this photo in burst mode on my new @gopro #workoutwednesday #workout #workoutmotivation #getit #roadtopeyongchang2018 @teamtoyota @teamusa @cocacola @gopro @bridgestonetires @firestonetires

A post shared by Amy Purdy (@amypurdygurl) on May 31, 2017 at 6:30pm PDT

As to how she remains so positive, despite everything, Purdy says, “I want to live a fulfilling life. I realized I am in control. Yes, there are things that I can’t change, but the things I can, I’m going to do everything in my power to work very hard through them and come out stronger on the other side.”

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