Beyond Limits

At the age of 19, the day after I graduated high school, I moved to a place where it snowed and I became a massage therapist. With this job all I needed were my hands and my massage table by my side and I could go anywhere. For the first time in my life, I felt free, independent and completely in control of my life.

That is, until my life took a detour. I went home from work early one day with what I thought was the flu, and less than 24 hours later I was in the hospital on life support with less than a two percent chance of living.

It wasn't until days later as I lay in a coma that the doctors diagnosed me with bacterial meningitis, a vaccine-preventable blood infection. Over the course of two and a half months I lost my spleen, my kidneys, the hearing in my left ear and both of my legs below the knee.

So the thought that I would like to challenge you with today is that maybe instead of looking at our challenges and our limitations as something negative or bad, we can begin to look at them as blessings, magnificent gifts that can be used to ignite our imaginations and help us go further than we ever knew we could go. It's not about breaking down borders. It's about pushing off of them and seeing what amazing places they might bring us.

-- Amy Purdy, TED Speaker