At 38 years old, Heather Abbott was a beach-loving, single, human resources manager whose life changed in a matter of seconds.

Every year, Abbott and her friends would go to the Red Sox game, followed by a visit to a restaurant near the finish line to watch the runners come in.

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“We were just about to walk inside when we heard the first explosion,” Abbott said. “12 seconds later the next bomb went off and the next thing I remember was being catapulted inside of the restaurant.”

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Abbott was directed to a hospital where she spent a few days and underwent four surgeries.

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The doctors presented Abbott with a decision while admitted in the hospital: she either amputates her leg, or risk the chance of being in a wheel chair the rest of her life.

“At the time, I had no idea what that entailed, so I researched amputees from my hospital bed,” said Abbott.

Abbott explained how she was “far from a tom boy” and was worried she would lose some of the things that make her feel like a woman; things such as wearing heels.

“I worried if I was going to be able to wear dresses, skirts and high heels,” said Abbott.

After research and speaking to other amputees she proceeded with the operation, which resulted in amputation of her left leg below the knee.

Through her hardship, Abbott has come up with three ways to “overcome adversity”:

  1. Accept what you can’t change
  2. Accept help from others and rely on them for support
  3. Pay it forward

With that realization, Abbott became devoted to impact others around her through her story.

Abbott made her “mess her message,” something that anchor Robin Roberts from ABC once advised her to do.

Now 20 months post-amputation, Abbott has started her own foundation, the Heather Abbott Foundation which helps provide prostheses to those who suffer limb loss through trauma and is specifically focused on women.

“I’m really focused on the foundation,” Abbott said. “I would eventually like to expand it, and be able to do other types of support such as emotional support and peer visits.”

Abbott has touched the lives of many around her and continues to tell her story in hopes to teach people how they, too, can overcome adversity, all while strutting heels with her “high heel leg” in true womanly fashion.