Amy Purdy will join the cast of Dancing With the Stars for its 18th season. The double-amputee is partnering with Derek Hough to compete against 11 other hopefuls in the popular dance competition show. Although Purdy lost both of her legs during a serious illness, she has shown admirable strength and a talent for competitive sports.
At the age of 19, Purdy experienced mysterious flu-like symptoms which led to hospitalization. Although she was eventually diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, the disease had already caused serious trauma throughout her body. Following the diagnosis, Purdy slipped into a coma for nearly three weeks.
The meningitis caused Purdy to lose circulation in her lungs, kidneys, spleen, and her legs. As a result, the teen suffered a ruptured spleen, kidney damage, and hearing loss. Even more devastating, both of her legs had to be amputated below the knee. The life-threatening disease was frightening for Purdy, her family, and friends. Although she was given a two-percent chance of survival, the teen overcame the disease and resulting disability.
At the age of 36, Amy Purdy has enjoyed a successful career as a model, an actress, a motivational speaker, and a competitive snowboarder. In 2005, she and her partner Daniel Gale founded Adaptive Action Sports. The non-profit organization encourages amputees to become involved in art, music, and active sports.
Dancing With the Stars will not be Purdy’s first reality competition show. She and Gale also appeared on The Amazing Race. Although they did not win the competition, fans admired her positive attitude and passion.
Amy Purdy’s fellow DWTS competitors includes a mixture of athletes and celebrities. The athletes include Olympic skaters Meryl Davis and Charlie White, long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, and former New York Ranger Sean Avery.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the list of celebrities includes, comedian Drew Carey, Atlanta “Housewife” NeNe Leakes, musicians Cody Simpson and James Maslow, actor Billie Dee Williams, and actresses Candace Cameron Bure and Danica McKellar.
Fans were also pleased to hear about the return of Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who will partner with Meryl Davis. Although the famed dancer was absent for two seasons, he has confirmed his return for the 18th season.
Host Tom Bergeron will be joined by Erin Andrews, as Brooke Burke Charvet has left the show. Fans will also notice that Harold Wheeler and the orchestra were replaced with a much smaller ensemble. Dancing With the Stars will return on March 17. A true inspiration and talented athlete, Amy Purdy is certain to become a favorite among fans.
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