Adrianne Haslet-Davis Becomes Advocate For Amputees

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Adrianne Haslet-Davis dances a rumba with with her partner, professional dancer Christian Lightner, on stage at her TED Talk with Hugh Herr, March 19, 2014. (James Duncan Davidson/TED)

We first met Adrianne Haslet-Davis last year, in the days after the Boston Marathon bombing. She is the ballroom dancer whose leg was injured in the blast.

The day of the bombing, she begged her emergency room physician, Dr. Ron Medzon, to save it. The team at Boston Medical Center was unable to fulfill that wish, but Adrianne is still determined to return to her dancing career.

She now has a prosthetic and has become an advocate for amputees, especially young women. She has also gained national recognition, and is expected to be on an upcoming season of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Adrianne tells Here & Now’s Robin Young about her struggles from the past year and her adjustments, like the first time she dreamed of herself walking with a prosthetic — perhaps a sign that her life has moved on.

On Monday, she will be cheering on her twin brothers, who will run the Boston Marathon in her name.

Interview Highlights: Adrianne Haslet-Davis

On how she’s feeling approaching Monday’s Boston Marathon

“It’s tough, you know. It’s really tough. I physically feel uneasy. Just – it’s hard to think that it’s been a year. I don’t think I’m scared of the marathon. I think it’s just I’m nervous to not know what kind of emotional state I’ll be in at that time. I just want to feel safe and I want the city to feel safe and comfortable and to go out and show support like they did during the Red Sox parade and pack the streets like 70 deep. It was so loud and I was cheering for the Red Sox but I was mostly cheering for the people that were cheering.”

On how her husband Adam Davis is doing

“He’s doing well. You know, we both take it day by day. As much as it’s easy to see that I have lost my limb, he has suffered tremendously as well. He has constant ringing in his ears and that can drive a person crazy, and he’s coping as beautifully as you possibly could in that situation. He also doesn’t have feeling in his left foot, from the ankle forward. So it’s tough, you know, he’s limping by the end of the day and trying to stay strong for both of us.”

On advocating for other amputees, especially girls

“I certainly want to use my voice for good and especially young girls that are out there facing this and feeling alone. And there’s a large part of your body that feels completely broken. I remember feeling like my body was so foreign to me — at the age of 32, which is something you’ve gotten used to by then. I felt like I had a hand growing out of my forehead. And just felt so different from every person on the planet, and that is a horrible feeling.”

On dreams and recovery

“I had my first dream as an amputee about two and a half months ago, actually. And I went into my therapist and he said, ‘Oh my gosh, wait, you said you were an amputee.’ And I said yes, and he said ‘that is incredible, your subconscious believes you’re an amputee – that usually doesn’t happen for the first five years.’ So I thought that that was really interesting and I have had dreams since then that I am an amputee — both that I have both limbs and that I am an amputee. But I was very proud of myself that that is already happening within the first year. So he was shocked. And I like to be an overachiever when it comes to recovery, so I was happy that happened.”


  • Adrianne Haslet-Davis, dancer who lost a leg in the Boston Marathon bombing.
  • Timothy Haslet, brother of Adrianne Haslet-Davis.
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