Claire Bridges, a 21-year-old model who underwent double amputation last year, says she can’t help but compare pictures of herself before and after. It’s only natural.
She is OK with the way she is now.
“When I look at the pictures, I see the beauty, I see the strength, the resilience,” she says in this video story from CNN.com.
Bridges has returned to an active life after she contracted COVID last year, leading to complications. She was born with aortic valve stenosis, a condition that diminishes blood flow from the heart to the body. She lost 70 pounds and spent two months in the hospital.
After learning to walk with her prostheses and undergoing aortic valve replacement, she can exercise regularly, and she still enjoys rock climbing.
“The hardest thing for me is that I never got to say goodbye to my old life,” she says. “I was an avid rock climber. I worked out every day. I ate extremely healthy.”
She drew inspiration from other models, actors, and athletes with amputations, including Amy Purdy, who will be the keynote speaker at the Amputee Coalition National Conference in August.
“There’s only one way to go, and that’s forward,” Bridges says. “I can’t really go anywhere else.”