By: Candice Wiener
You don’t know the definition of real strength until you’ve met Amy Purdy. Amy Purdy is a dear childhood friend and I have had the pleasure of knowing her better than most. Not only has this woman helped revolutionize the prosthetics industry and created her very own charity that benefits sports aficionados that have lost a limb due to any extenuating circumstances including war survivors, etc., she also has impacted the Las Vegas community and certainly left her mark as a native born and raised Las Vegan.
Amy and I grew up together in Las Vegas and her family used to run the rodeo here in town. I vividly remember going to the rodeo each year with her and her family each year. I also have a good recollection of a lot of various childhood memories like taking her dogs on our roller blades over the ramp on Smoke Ranch and Rainbow and them dragging us right in front of oncoming traffic, but after we realized we were all ok and no one got injured, boy did we laugh and laugh about that for days! That’s just one of the fond memories of times we spent together growing up here in Las Vegas. Amy Purdy was not your typical Vegas girl. She always had a heart of gold and defied the odds in life not only personally but also professionally. She grew to have a passion for snowboarding and other outdoor sports. At the young and tender age of 19, she contracted Bacterial Meningitis while fighting for her life and ultimately lost both of her legs. Amy is now a professional snowboarder, a three-time Paralympic medalist and the most decorated Paralympic snowboarder in all of US history. She has also widely excelled recently in the upper echelons of world-class athletics and is also a celebrated NY Times best-selling author.
At the age of 32, Amy appeared in CBS’s hit show, The Amazing Race. She has toured and packed arenas all throughout the nation with the humble participation of her friend, Oprah Winfrey. She appeared in the ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars with her dancing partner Derek Hough and was the runner-up that season. She was nationally acclaimed for her appearance on the Toyota Super Bowl commercial and she also has danced in front of hundreds of millions of viewers during the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Paralympic Games.
(Photos left to right) On September 7, 2016 Amy performed as the featured dancer in the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. In a five minute solo dance, Amy’s performance was seen on television around the world by an estimated audience of over 300 million people.
Three days after winning a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics Amy became a breakout star of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars. Inspiring the judges, fellow competitors, the professional dance staff and millions of fans, Amy delivered one stunning performance after another and was eventually the show’s runner up.
Purdy continues to spread her message of “why be ordinary when we were born to be extra-ordinary” which clearly speaks of her message and all of her works. She believes firmly in “living & giving” and is the founder of her own non-profit organization Adaptive Action Sports through which she supports athletes and veterans with disabilities. She has traveled to underserved communities in the US, Africa and South America to share her message, and recently took on the role of Cultural Envoy to Brazil on behalf of the Ambassador and Consult General, bridging ties between the countries and inspiring women, youth and communities to live inspired lives.
Amy is a true “Real Las Vegas Local Survivor” and we couldn’t be more honored to share a part of her story and journey with you. Amy’s beauty inside and out has made her a household name through countless interviews, articles and platforms. She has inspired millions of people through her TED talk, motivational speeches and social media platforms with her “Live Inspired” message.
Something you may not know about Amy is that she currently resides in Colorado and has a pet fox… yes, you heard it right. A pet fox named Kit. There are absolutely no limits with Amy in both her personal and professional career so be sure to keep up to date and follow her social media pages for what’s next to come.
With 491,000+ social media followers, it’s not hard to see why Amy became a household name. Find and follow her with her 283k+ followers on Instagram @amypurdygurl