What Happened to Sarah Herron’s Arm? Why Does She Only Have One?

Sarah Herron

Instagram Sarah Herron, who starred on Season 17 of 'The Bachelor.'

While production of Clare Crawley‘s season of The Bachelorette was halted due to coronavirus, ABC is presenting The Bachelor: Greatest Seasons Ever,’ which will feature a look back at some of the franchises’ most memorable moments.

Hosted by Chris Harrison, the premiere episode on Monday night will feature highlight’s from Sean Lowe’s season of The Bachelor. Before he found his happily ever after with Catherine Giudice, he shared a strong connection with Sarah Herron, who was a fan-favorite contestant from the very beginning.

When Herron appeared on Season 17 of The Bachelor, she stood out not only because of her beauty but for her candid personality, therefore making it easy to forget she only had one arm. Herron also didn’t make her time on the reality series focused on her disability. Instead, she pulled Lowe aside right away to explain privately why she was missing the upper part of her arm and later in the season, was seen bravely jumping off the top of a skyscraper alongside Lowe.

The reason Herron, 33, only has one arm is because she was born with a rare condition known as Amniotic Band Syndrome. According to the National Organization for Rare Diseases, the condition affects 1 in 1,200 to 15,000 live births.

While the exact causes of ABS remain complex and controversial, symptoms of the condition can vary greatly from one infant to another. The three most common affected areas include limb deformation, abnormalities of the head and face, and malformation of the arms or legs.


Herron Founded the SheLift Organization in 2016

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Three years ago I quit my job to take a giant leap of faith. That leap was to start a community of women who could empower and support one another to conquer ANY obstacle that stood in their way. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In those three years, we’ve hosted five retreats throughout the U.S. and we have welcomed over 500 women into our community. Women and girls have gone on from SheLift to become world champion climbers, avid skiers, yogis and confidence connoisseurs. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This last weekend we hosted the biggest group yet. Over 50 young women, girls and moms came to Park City, Utah for the first SheLift Summit – a weekend full of activities, mentorship and good old fashion girl time. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’m still processing the weekend, and quite honestly, I’m still searching for the emotions to describe this experience. I’m somewhere between feeling inspired, raw, accomplished and straight up stripped from the space that these 50 insanely beautiful human beings created. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The leap hasn’t always been easy. In fact, it’s been one of the most challenging briefs of my life. I saw the need for SheLift, and I helped birth it, but I cannot take all the credit for what it is has and will continue to grow into. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ SheLift is the product of every woman and girl who continues to show up with a mission to conquer – even if that starts with tying your shoes. SheLift is bigger than me, it’s all of you. Thank you for helping me raise this family. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thank you to all of our volunteers, partners and sponsors who helped make this weekend possible for so many deserving young ladies. So many more photos to come! @backountry @Eddiebauer @HarmlessHarvest @nationalabilitycenter @jenhudak @_emmajune @lexajorgenson @wendyp54 @allyslewis 📸 by @toriduhaime and @abermanphoto

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As stated on SheLift’s website, Herron created the organization to “[empower] young women and girls with physical differences to discover confidence and self-esteem through outdoor recreation and mentorship.”

For participants of SheLift retreats, they are offered “once-in-a-lifetime experiences, workshops and community events rooted in personal development, risk-taking, authenticity and connection for women and moms of children with physical differences.”

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Here’s the story of how Dylan and I met. Last year I was looking to hire a videographer for our first SheLift retreat in Colorado. Dylan came highly recommended by an old colleague and friend. After our first day of working together as director + producer, I was pretty certain I had a crush on him. My sister was quick to accuse that I only had a crush on him because “he was the only boy I’d seen in 72 hours” [at an all girls retreat] but I knew it was something more. I was drawn to his creative instinct, expertise on the ski hill, ability to direct firmly yet allow for compassion in a vulnerable environment. We went on our first date the afternoon after the retreat ended in his small mountain town of Carbondale, CO. My sister sat at the table across the room (bless) while Dylan and I sipped coffee and talked. When Dylan walked me to my car, I stood on my tiptoes to kiss him goodbye. Taken aback by my forwardness, Dylan was undeniably hooked. I explained that “we move fast on the Bachelor,” and apparently it worked. ☺️ One year to the date and we just wrapped our second SheLift ski retreat, and I now live in said small mountain town. This time Dylan and I are in love, we’re partners and we’re reliving the memories of our year in review. I couldn’t have gotten through this incredible weekend without him, his support, direction, ability to be a single male in a room with 20+ women, a hair model and first crush for five indescribably special little human girls is what makes him the most incredible man I know. I’m not surprised that I met Dylan while distracted, fully devoted to my life’s work – because it brought someone equally as deserving and understanding to the table. Because of our unique circumstance of meeting, I’ll forever be grateful for my partner and best friend. Swipe right to see our first flirty text 😍

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While Herron wasn’t able to find love during her time on The Bachelor or Bachelor in Paradise, it was actually through one of her SheLift retreats that she met her boyfriend, Dylan Brown. They’ve been dating since 2018.


Herron Doesn’t Let a Missing Limb Keep Her From Experiencing All That Life Has to Offer

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I guess like many other tasks I do with one hand, learning to paint my nails was never something that seemed that complex. After all, I’ve never known any other way. I just decided around 6th grade that I wanted to paint my nails on my own, and did it! So, like for any other kid, learning to ride a bike or paint my nails was just something I figured out through trial and error. I DO owe my mom proper shout out and appreciation for helping me figure it out, though! She spent many hours problem solving with me and trying it one-handed for herself as I learned. I can see how watching someone with one hand paint her own nails might be “impressive” or “inspiring,” but really, it’s just a different way of seeing someone approach something- which we don’t see enough of. I often get asked how parents can help teach their children to be inclusive of physical differences or to not “stare” when they see someone with a disability performing a task. My best bit of advice is to show them that abilities come in all varieties. And if they are curious about how someone paints their nails with one hand, to encourage them to try for themselves! Music: I Got A Girl Musician: Philip E Morris

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Of all the former Bachelor Nation stars, Herron has one of the most inspiring Instagram pages. Captioning a photo of herself hiking through Utah’s mountains she wrote, “I used to think that the only thing people found interesting about me was that I was ‘the girl born with one arm.; I was actually convinced it was the only reason I was cast on The Bachelor… For better or worse, the one thing that made me unique, also felt like an identity trap. I couldn’t see the bigger picture.”

“But after A LOT of reflection (aka, self-help books, therapy and community sharing) I’ve come to better understand and accept that the way I look – or in this case my arm – is the absolute least interesting thing about me – now it’s just icing on the cake.”

While Herron makes adjustments for her body, she works out with weights, takes boxing classes, swims, practices archery, and hikes all over the world.

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