Amy Purdy
Para-Athlete and Co-Founder
Adaptive Action Sports
At 19, after experiencing flu-like symptoms, Amy Purdy 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. She was given less than a 2-percent 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 Purdy with meningococcal meningitis, a vaccine-preventable bacterial infection. Due to the lack of circulation she 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. Purdy 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, she 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. In May 2013, Purdy was named by the International Olympic Committee as one of the top 15 most marketable para-athletes in the world. Purdy is most proud of co-founding Adaptive Action Sports. Created in 2005, AAS is a non-profit organization that 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. A model and actress, she has appeared in advertising campaigns for Toyota, The Hartford, P&G, Duracell, The Kellogg Company, Element, The Coca-Cola Company and others. She has appeared in a Madonna music video and had the lead role in the independent film "What’s Bugging Seth?" In 2012, she and her longtime boyfriend, Daniel Gale, raced around the world on CBS’s "The Amazing Race." In spring 2014, Purdy inspired millions of fans with her stunning performances on ABC’s "Dancing With The Stars," where she was runner up. Last year, Purdy launched a clothing line in partnership with Element Eden and published her memoir "On My Two Feet."