On Sunday, March 16, 2014 the Paralympics ended in Sochi, Russia, but one athlete went from the Paralympics to the dance floor. Recently, Amy Purdy, a double-amputee joined this season’s cast of “Dancing With the Stars”. As a person with a disability, I was excited that I was represented.
At age nineteen Purdy lost her legs to meningitis, but went on to be a successful athlete and participated as a snowboarder in Sochi. She explains in an article called, “’Dancing with the Stars’ Amy Purdy: ‘The Only True Is in Our Minds’” written by Michael Rothman that she decided to do the “Dancing With the Stars”, to show others that people with disabilities have dreams too. She also commented on the show that she always wanted to dance and this was an opportunity for her to do so.
When I saw her on the show I thought she was amazing. I am used to hearing only what I can’t do and how my challenges hinder what I can and can’t do. It reminded me of what I can do and what people with disabilities can achieve. She said it best when she said, “If we can see past preconceived limitations then the possibilities are endless. I’m here right now in Sochi, amidst truly remarkable people from all over the world, each of who has a story of overcoming big challenges. Being on this show, if I can be just a tiny catalyst in getting people at large to see people with physical challenges a little differently that would be a great honor.”
I believe the most amazing things happen when you don’t have expectations of what you can and can’t do. Sometimes, when I go back to my elementary school, my teachers are surprised when I tell them I went to college. People often think people with disabilities have a limit to what they can achieve. But I think it is important to dream big but also know your own limits. I think Amy Purdy is just one example of how people with disabilities can surprise you. I am cheering her on as she continues in “Dancing With the Stars”, I too see myself as a tiny catalyst for change. In doing so I hope to see more individuals with disabilities in the world and on television.
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About the Author:
Sarah Armour is the Business Assistant at jjslist.com. She enjoys managing the website, bookkeeping, coordinating the Disability-Awareness Trainings and organizing the Hop on the Bus to Independence Program. She graduated from Loras College in Dubuque, IA, in 2008 with a BA in Sociology. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.