Former DWTS Runner-up Details ‘Hardest Journey of My Life’

Amy Purdy Walking

Heavy A "DWTS" star shares her journey to walking again.

A “Dancing with the Stars” runner-up has been fighting to walk again after multiple surgeries and setbacks. Amy Purdy competed with Derek Hough on season 18 of “DWTS,” and as USA Today detailed, she was the first-ever double amputee contestant. The competition was stiff that season, and Purdy and Hough came in second, behind Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Meryl Davis. Purdy shared a lot about her life journey while she competed, but the past few years have brought another set of challenges that took a fierce determination for her to overcome.

Here’s what you need to know:

Amy Purdy Endured 10 Surgeries After a Leg Injury 4 Years Ago

Purdy shared part of her latest battle on Instagram. She explained that four years ago, an injury in an artery in her left leg caused a blood clot that led to “the hardest journey of my life.” As she told NIH Medline Plus Magazine, a case of bacterial meningitis at the age of 19 led Purdy to lose both of her legs, along with hearing in one ear, kidney function, and her spleen. “My body went into septic shock after just 24 hours of feeling like I had the flu, and I fought for my life in the hospital for two and a half months.” As she recovered, she was fitted with prosthetic legs and recalled, “mentally I adjusted right away to my new reality.” Purdy has since won several snowboarding Paralympic medals.

Four years ago, however, she was faced with a new battle and she is just now putting it behind her. “I almost lost my leg above my knee… I’ve endured 10 surgeries, including two new leg amputations, all to fight to save my leg,” she explained.

The ‘DWTS’ Star Can Now Strut Her Stuff Again

Purdy noted in an April 17 Instagram post that what made this latest struggle the most difficult she had navigated was the need to accept what she could not control. “When we let go of what we cannot control, we free up our energy to focus on what we can influence,” she explained. The “Dancing with the Stars” veteran added, “Acceptance will be your source of power. Embrace the things you cannot change! You’ll be surprised at how much you can change within yourself.” During her battle to save her leg, and nearly a dozen surgeries, Purdy “had to accept that I may not ever walk comfortabl[y] again.” She did not give up, though, and in early April, she was able to strut her stuff with ease and confidence for the first time in four years. “I cried in my car after,” she admitted in an April 8 Instagram post.

“To go from being a professional athlete on 2 prosthetic legs to not being able to walk in my legs has been the hardest journey of my life,” Purdy explained.

Purdy has received a lot of support in the comments sections of her recent posts. A number of supporters have also thanked her for inspiring them in their own difficult health battles.

“I’ve recently become a quad amputee and watching and reading your posts give me so much hope,” noted one fan.

“I admire you and the strength you have exhibited. Your fight helped my daughter get through her fight,” added another.

“You inspire me every day. Your strength both physically and mentally is absolutely amazing,” someone else praised.

A separate supporter gushed, “Amy, I have waited for you to walk again! This makes me so happy! You go gurl!!!!”