A native of Las Vegas and graduate of Cimarron Memorial High School, Amy Purdy began snowboarding at the age of 15.
However, in 1999, her life hung in the balance after contracting Neisseria meningitis, a form of bacterial meningitis. Her chance of survival at that time was less than two percent. Incredibly, she was able to survive the infection, but lost both of her legs below the knee.
Shorty thereafter, Purdy also needed a kidney transplant – one that she received from her father, just a week before her 21st birthday.
But none of those challenges ever stopped her. In 1995, she co-founded Adaptive Action Sports, a non-profit organization and branch of Disabled Sports USA that is dedicated to introducing people with physical challenges to action sports. She was also instrumental in advocating for the inclusion of adaptive snowboarding to the 2014 Paralympic Games.
Purdy became a two-time Paralympian, having appeared at the Sochi Games in 2014 and the PyeongChang Games in 2018, and a three-time Paralympic medalist.
Her work as a model and actress has been an inspiration to so many. She also has inspired millions of people through her TED talk, motivational speeches and social media platforms with her "Live Inspired" message. In addition, she has been a contestant on the 21st season of The Amazing Race and Season 18 of Dancing with the Stars, advancing all the way to the Finale.
As a spokesperson for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, an organization that provides grants for training, competition and equipment for athletes with disabilities, she continues to inspire those in need.
In 2017 she took on the role of Cultural Envoy where she traveled to Brazil on behalf of the Ambassador and Consult General bridging ties between Brazil and the United States and inspiring women, youth and communities to live their best life.
Recently, Purdy underwent a surgical procedure on her left leg after a blood clot was discovered extending from her hip to the bottom of her leg. Like all of the challenges in her life, Purdy managed to keep a positive outlook and continues in her recovery.
Born: November 07, 1979
Claim to Fame: Despite the loss of both legs below the knee, Purdy became a three-time Paralympic medalist and continues to inspire through her work as a model, actress and motivational speaker.