Amy Purdy's TED Talk: Living Beyond Limits
2018 Paralympic Silver Medalist, 2014 Paralympic Bronze Medalist, and Three-Time World Cup Gold Medalist
- Inspires audiences with the emotional story of losing both legs to meningitis
- Built her own snowboard-adaptable prosthetic legs
- Competed on Dancing with the Stars and The Amazing Race
- A testament to the resilience of the human spirit
Play Video View Fees
At 19, after experiencing flu-like symptoms, Amy 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. When she entered into the hospital she was given less than a 2% 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 Amy with Meningococcal Meningitis, a vaccine preventable bacterial infection. Due to the lack of circulation she had 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.
After going through this life-altering experience, Amy 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, Amy entered the USASA National Snowboarding Championship where she won medals in three events. Today, she is the most decorated Paralympic snowboarder in US history and a three-time Paralympic Medalist. She is the only double leg amputee competing at the world class level.
Amy’s creativity, positive outlook and her never give up attitude have opened doors to many other opportunities including being featured in a Madonna music video, a lead actress role in an award winning independent film and multiple creative modeling projects including a photo shoot with musician and artist Nikki Sixx where her legs were custom made from steel to look like ice picks.
Amy has evolved into a powerful inspirational and motivational speaker who has literally been seen by millions of people and invited to share her story to audiences around the world.
Amy’s story and images have been featured in numerous national and international publications, and in 2012 she and her longtime boyfriend (now husband), Daniel Gale, raced around the world on The Amazing Race.
In May of 2013 Amy was named by the International Olympic Committee as one of the top 15 most marketable Para-athletes in the world.
Although Amy has numerous accomplishments, she is most proud of co-founding Adaptive Action Sports. Created in 2005, AAS is a non-profit organization which helps those with permanent disabilities to get involved in action sports. AAS has partnered with ESPN and runsadaptiveaction sport competitions at the summer and winter ESPN X Games. These events were instrumental in getting adaptive snowboarding added to the Paralympic Games.
In the Spring of 2014, Amy inspired millions of fans with her stunning performances on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, eventually becoming the show’s runner up.Later that year she toured the country sharing her remarkable story alongside Oprah Winfrey, as part of Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour. In February of 2015 she was featured in a SuperBowl commercial (Toyota) and then released her autobiography, On My Own Two Feet, which quickly became a New York Times Best Seller and is now published around the world.
In September of 2016 Amy was the featured performer in the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Rio. Her dance was viewed by over 300 million people around the world. The following year, she returned to Rio as the star of one of the world famous Carnival parade floats.
In March of 2018, Amy returned to the Paralympic Games, this time in PyeongChang, Korea, where she won silver and bronze medals.
Living Beyond Limits
Be prepared to laugh, cry and stand up and cheer while listening to Amy deliver her keynote address, Living Beyond Limits. A veteran of the stage who has shared her story around the world, Purdy recounts a sudden, near-death experience that resulted in the loss of her legs, and the extraordinary journey she has been on ever since. A self-proclaimed ‘Fembot’, Purdy has toured with Oprah Winfrey, danced in front of millions, and been featured in a Superbowl commercial among countless other adventures. An expert in creativity and problem solving, Purdy empowers her audiences to believe that indeed anything is possible. She challenges everyone to see obstacles as opportunities all while sharing her mantra that Inspiration is Contagious.
Please convey to Amy that we were thrilled with her presentation at the convention last month in Palm Desert and she was our highest rated speaker! After her presentation many people wanted her book. We ran out of them.
One of the kindest speakers we’ve ever had. Very inspiring and very engaging. Got a standing ovation and not every speaker got one. Went late with book signing and took pictures.
Amy was amazing! Her story of overcoming challenges, coupled with her profound motivation to tackle situations head-on, proved powerful and informative. A great speaker.
Everything went perfect! The company emailed all morning back and forth after Amy posted the pictures of her in front of her wall mural on her Instagram. She was one of the best parts of the 4 day conference. Thank you!!
I wanted to reach out and say thank you for sharing your story with us this week in Hilton Head. You were the highlight of the conference. You are a true inspiration for anyone that has faced any type of adversity in their lives and how to overcome obstacles. I shared with you that evening that I believe your next project should be a movie about your life! I see that in your future – best of luck with your next adventure and enjoy your new home!
Your inspiring story really resonated with the audience, and there was considerable positive feedback afterward. It was nice to hear colleagues discussing how knowing our obstacles is gift and an opportunity to take us to places we never expected. Your life story really underscored the necessity and benefit of innovation in a way few others could express.Thank you so much for being with us, and best of luck with all your future adventures.