Speaking to the World
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Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor & Amputee
On April 15, 2013, what is referred to as Marathon Monday in Boston, Heather Abbott of Newport, RI set out on an annual tradition with six friends. They would attend the Red Sox game, followed by a walk over to the finish line to watch the runners. Abbott would never have dreamed this day would change her life forever. Read More >
Abbott was struck by shrapnel from the second of the two bombs, severely injuring her left foot. Strangers Matt Chatham, former New England Patriots lineman, and his wife, Erin, carried her to safety.
After three surgeries in four days, Abbott was faced with an agonizing decision – should she try and save her left foot or amputate her leg below the knee. With the help of other amputees, and the support from thousands around the country, Abbott made the difficult decision, at the age of 38, to live her life as an amputee.
Her recovery, as it is for many, was a journey through pain, anger, optimism, challenge and resilience. A significant part of her recovery was her support network – the friends, family and strangers who sent her well-wishes, the fellow amputees who inspired her and helped her transition and the custom prostheses that allowed her to live her life as before.
Through insurance and donations, Abbott was given four different prosthetic legs. Just months after the bombing, she was living independently and resuming the activities she loves, including stand up paddle boarding, running and wearing high heels.
Abbott has remained a model of strength and resilience and is determined to help other victims of limb loss. She is a certified Peer Counselor for the American Amputee Coalition and is helping other amputees adjust to their “new normal,” as others helped her. As a sought after inspirational speaker, Abbott shares her journey of overcoming trauma and leaves audiences with both practical and creative advice on how to push through adversity.
By starting the Heather Abbott Foundation, she has another chance to continue to pay it forward for all amputees. Heather Abbott has recently been awarded the following: the 2014 Orthopedic Association’s Spirit of an Active Lifestyle Award, an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Framingham State University in 2015, the Stonehill College President’s Excellence Award in 2015 and the 2015 Providence Business News Woman to Watch. Read Less ^
Surviving The Boston Marathon Bombing
Life is Full of Adversity
Bridgewater College Keynote
Adopting three key life strategies led to living life again after suffering the amputation of her left leg in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Hear Heather Abbott's story of resilience following that tragic event—and learn how you can apply her life strategies to your daily living. You can "Live. Your. Life." again, whatever your circumstances.
We expect our health care providers to be skilled, experienced professionals who know how to nurse our wounds and treat our illnesses. But what about the less-talked-about side of medical care—the "softer side" of health care? Hear Heather Abbott's story of recovery and the major impact individual providers can have on a patient's recovery, especially those who have suffered traumatic injury. Sometimes the road to recovery is marked by more than just medicine.
At the time of the Boston Marathon bombing, Heather Abbott enjoyed a high-powered career as a human resources executive with a Fortune 500 company. Key to her job responsibilities was a focus on equal employment opportunity, affirmative action and ensuring the hiring and retention of women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities. Little did Heather know that one day she would become the very kind of employee she was entrusted to protect. Learn how Heather's professional views changed as a result of her traumatic injury, and how all businesses today can benefit from her experience.
Prior to the Boston Marathon bombing, Heather Abbott had a career she enjoyed, and the love of friends of family—yet something was still missing. It was, as Heather will tell you, a "passion" in her life—a "purpose" larger than self. Ironically, it would take something meant for evil to help Heather find true meaning to her being. Learn how you can uncover the purpose that will drive your life and change the lives of countless others.
"Thank you Heather for an amazing job sharing your story. I have already received great feedback and its only been 15 min!"
"Everything was excellent! Heather was amazing to work with and her story so inspirational! Great way for us to kick off the day."
"She was great I really think it went well. I can’t thank you enough!"
"The event went great. Heather was incredible with the kids in the morning. I heard from lots of parents and we saw some siblings at the evening event. The evening event was great as well. Especially because there were few women amputee’s in the audience who were so excited to hear from and get to meet Heather. Representation is so important and I’m so glad she came to campus. Thanks for everything."
"The event went extremely well and Heather was terrific! She was such an inspirational speaker and we have received a lot of great feedback. She was such a great tie in."
"Everything went amazing! Heather was great and in reviewing our evaluations, we have heard nothing but positive feedback from her keynote address. She was inspirational and uplifting to all in attendance. Thank you!"
"She was fantastic, many folks took opportunities to have their picture taken with her. Very heart-warming speaker!"
"It went very well! I have had several employees proactively send me a “thank you” for having her speak – everyone thought she was great. She’s so real that people can connect to her and therefore I think they gain a lot from her message."
"Heather spoke at our Annual Conference for approximately 1000 people. She was amazing. Just terrific. What an incredible person! It was a privilege to have her with us. Thank you so much for all you did to make it happen. I know our paths will cross again."
"Heather was FANTASTIC and a pleasure to work with! She received two standing ovations and our auditorium was quite full. Thank you!"
"It was great! She was “spot on.” I heard MANY comments about her speech (and also how our ceremony routinely attracts the best speakers). I will be contacting you again next year!"
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