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Heather Abbott      

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 Boston Marathon finish line to watch the runners and gather at the Forum restaurant. However, Abbott would never have dreamed this day would change her life forever.

Abbott was struck by shrapnel from the second of the two bombs that day, which severely injured her left foot. Strangers Matt Chatham, former New England Patriots lineman, and his wife, Erin, carried Abbott to safety away from the direction of the bombs and saw her to an ambulance that brought her to Brigham and Women’s hospital.

After 3 surgeries in 4 days, Abbott was faced with the agonizing decision of whether to try to save her left foot or to allow doctors to amputate her left leg below the knee. With the help of other amputees and the support from hundreds of thousands around the country, Abbott made the difficult decision, at the age of 38, to live her remaining years as an amputee and use prosthetic legs.

Just four months following the bombing, she was living independently and returned to her job as a Human Resources Manager, on a part time basis. Within the first year following her amputation, she started participating in the activities she loves, including paddle boarding, running and wearing high heels. Abbott currently has four different prosthetic legs and has not let this horrific act of terrorism slow her down. She has become certified as a Peer Counselor by the National Amputee Coalition and is helping other amputees adjust to their “new normal,” as an example of hope and determination.

Heather Abbott has remained a model of strength and resilience, truly personifying the popular phrase “Boston Strong,” since the city that so many love was shaken by the senseless violence. She is sharing her story with audiences across the country and inspiring others with her contagious optimism and thoughtful reflection on her journey.

Videos


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Heather Abbott 6PM - YouTube
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Speech Topics


Overcoming Adversity

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.

Beyond Medical Care: The Often Untold Story of Health Care Professionals’ Impact on the Lives of Trauma Patients

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.

Disabilities in Today’s Workforce: How Trauma Shaped One HR Executive’s Business Practices

At the time of the Boston Marathon bombing, Heather Abbott enjoyed a high-powered career as a human resources executive with a Fortune 50 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.

Paying It Forward: Finding the Purpose That Drives Your Life

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.

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