"Over the past few years I’ve discovered painting, poetry, writing and standup comedy. Because I want to do a lot of advocacy, education, awareness work for people with disabilities I decided to go back to school for writing and journalism. "
"When I was younger I always played sports: softball, gymnastics, dance, rock climbing. You name it, I did it. I just loved always being active. In June 9th of 2014 I was burned on 25% of my body. I saw more than 30 doctors at Brigham's from every field. I had set a goal in the hospital that one year from my accident I was going to run a 5k. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. But I did it eventually.
My motto is 'illegitimi non carborundum' which is Latin for 'don't let the bastards get you down.' It’s for any of the naysayers telling me what I can and can’t do. Everyone kept telling me what I could and couldn’t do what I should and shouldn’t do being as an amputee. Even though there is support within your community and support within your family I've had people challenge me many different times. But you can do whatever you want.
After my injury I went surfing without a leg with AmpSurf. The day I got my leg I went straight from the doctors to the gym and I went rock climbing. I ran my first 5K in 2019. Two weeks later I ran the Bionic5K and then two weeks later I ran another. This year I'm running the half marathon because I'm doing the Boston marathon in 2021. It's an adrenaline rush. The feeling of completing something of putting all this hard work energy into something and seeing the results.
I like 5Ks but I really love obstacle courses. For me they are very empowering. I have done the American Ninja Warrior obstacle course and did my first Spartan race in November at Fenway. That one was three miles and 20 obstacles. I want to be on American Ninja Warrior. But so far, the amputee competitors have all been men.
I'm also training for the 2024 Paralympics in Crew. I'm hoping to get a specialty prosthetic leg, but right now I just crush it down the Charles with one leg. My prosthetic was getting in the way when we were out there one day. My coach said just take it off. So, I threw it to her and kept on rowing. I also play sled hockey. I'm on the Boston ICE Storm hockey team.
Over the past few years I’ve discovered painting, poetry, writing and standup comedy. Because I want to do a lot of advocacy, education, awareness work for people with disabilities I decided to go back to school for writing and journalism. I actually wouldn't turn back the hands of time now from all the benefits that I have seen. But you know, it took me a while to get there.
The Bionic5k is very inclusive. There’s a beautiful sense of camaraderie and spirit. It's a really beautiful feeling to be around people where you can just be yourself and not be worried about being an amputee or if you're disabled. It's really amazing seeing the energy and enthusiasm and the hard work and the grit in the faces of some of the other participants. And then you think about yourself, knowing what you've gone through just to get where you're at. At one time I didn't know if I'd be able to get there. And then, you know, four years later, here I am.
What advice would I give to people with newer physical challenges? You don't know until you try. I found the more I do something, the more and more comfortable I become with it. But try everything. Don't let anyone get in your head. And most of all, don't let yourself get in your head and stop you from doing anything. There is no reason to not try and give it your all. I would tell anyone just do it, try it, be a calculated risk taker.
The best songs to run to? 'Broken and Beautiful' from the Ugly Dolls soundtrack. It's really energizing and the words are very powerful. The other one that really gets me going is 'My Shot' from Hamilton, the remix one by The Roots."
-Amy. Bionic5K athlete