Not quite a year ago everything changed for Adrianne Haslet-Davis. The ballroom dance instructor was watching the Boston Marathon at the sidelines with her husband when the bombs went off. The Boston Marathon bombing was shocking for all of us. Three people lost their life and 264 people were injured. Adrianne was counted among the injured. Adrianne told reporters, “I said my foot hurt, and he held up my foot, and we both just screamed bloody murder.
Hugh Herr, director of the Biomechatronics Group at The MIT Media Lab, met with Adrianne Haslet-Davis while she was in the hospital in Boston. Hugh runs a lab that builds bionic limbs. He is passionate about the technology because he uses the prosthetic limbs himself. Both of his legs were amputated due to extreme frostbite. Earlier this week he took to the stage at Ted2014 and explained:
“At the time, I didn’t view my body as broken. I reasoned that a human being can never be broken. I thought: Technology is broken. Technology is inadequate. This simple but powerful idea was a call to arms to advance technology to the elimination of my own disability, and ultimately the disabilities of others.”
After Hugh spoke with Adrianne, he was determined to build her a bionic limb. His lab spent over 200 days studying dance. Hugh says, “In 3.5 seconds, the criminals and cowards took Adrianne off the dance floor. In 200 days, we put her back.”
He then called Adrianne out to the stage and she danced.
Jodie Martinson from CBC Radio asked Adrianne to explain the moment.
“I got to dance. For the first time … I was performing for the first time since the marathon. It was incredible. And I danced, and then I cried.
I was crying because I know it’s still a long way to go. So it was both happy and sad. It’s a struggle and it’s tough and it feels incredibly different than it did before.
They always say comparison is the thief of joy and I compare everything. I’m still at that stage; it’s still very, very new to me, so I constantly think about what it felt like before.
I constantly think about what my feet could do before, the moves that I could do before, and its all different.
And it’s a great different, but it’s different.”
I have seen several photos from the dance and in every single one the pure joy and thrill is palpable. There are all of these mundane setbacks that we face daily that have the capacity to derail us, and sometimes we let them. Sometimes we let something trivial push us off-course. Adrianne Haslet-Davis and Hugh Herr are inspirations and speak to the power of perseverance. SHE DANCED.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
• Maya Angelou
Image Credit: Ted Talks Twitter
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