October 2012

Amputee Amazing Race contender meets personal goals despite elimination

Amy Purdy and Daniel Gale competed in the current season of Amazing Race. Photo courtesy of CBS.

Among the 22 competitors on the 21st season of CBS’s Amazing Race was bilateral amputee Amy Purdy, a medalled snowboarder and cofounder of Adaptive Action Sports, a Lummi Island, WA-based company aimed at giving youths and young adults with disabilities an entrée into the world of action sports, including snowboarding, ski-boarding, and surfing.

Purdy, who at age 19 lost both legs below the knee to complications from bacterial meningitis, competed with her Adaptive Action Sports co-founder and on-again, off-again dating interest, Daniel Gale; on the October 7 show the pair was eliminated after they arrived at the race’s second stop, the Pasar Pabean Market in Surabaya, Indonesia.

“I wanted to do the race not only to challenge myself and see what I was capable of but to also represent an entire community and show what we are all capable of and I feel that I accomplished that,” Purdy told LER. “Of course when we first started the race in the back of my mind I was aware that I could have mechanical failures, so Daniel and I packed accordingly. We sacrificed a lot of comfort by carrying limited clothing… and instead carried an extra pair of legs, multiple tools, and foot components just in case we ran into mechanical problems, but what is so amazing is that we never did run into any problems mechanically. My legs felt so good the entire time! Everything I was concerned about quickly went out the window and in the end I was able to race just like any other racer with two legs.”

Irvine, CA-based Freedom Innovations designed the prosthetic feet Purdy wore during the competition. She worked with Stan Patterson, CP, of Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates in Orlando, FL, and Freedom Innovations to create two artificial limbs with strong, ultralightweight materials, a set of custom-fit sockets, and Renegade carbon-fiber prosthetic feet, which store and return energy while providing shock absorption during high impact.

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