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Space Telescope Science Institute
Hard Science/Soft Skills

Heather Abbott

Overcoming Adversity

  Heather Abbott
  John Bahcall Auditorium
  March 28, 2017
  2:00 p.m.

Many of us have faced difficult times, hardship, and challenges at various points in our lives. Heather Abbott’s experience of facing adversity was truly unique and life changing. On April 15, 2013, what is referred to as Marathon Monday in Boston, Heather set out on an annual tradition with six friends. They planned to attend the Red Sox game, followed by a walk over to the finish line to watch the runners. Abbott was struck by shrapnel from the second of the two bombs, severely injuring her left foot. With the help of other amputees, and the support from thousands around the country, Abbott made the difficult decision, at the age of 38, to live her life as an amputee.

Her recovery, as it is for many, was a journey through pain, anger, optimism, challenge and resilience. A significant part of her recovery was her support network – the friends, family and strangers who sent her well-wishes, and the fellow amputees who helped her transition. Abbott has remained a model of strength and resilience and is determined to help other victims of limb loss. She is a certified Peer Counselor for the American Amputee Coalition and is helping other amputees adjust to their “new normal,” as others helped her.

Abbott will share with us how as part of her recovery she adopted three key life strategies that led to living life again after suffering a tragic event. She will share how you can apply her life strategies to your own daily living and teach us that you can “Live. Your. Life.” again, whatever your circumstances.

Since becoming an amputee, Heather has started the Heather Abbott Foundation, which has afforded her the opportunity to continue to help other amputees. Heather Abbott has been a recipient of many awards, including the 2014 Orthopedic Association’s Spirit of an Active Lifestyle Award, an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Framingham State University in 2015, the Stonehill College President’s Excellence Award in 2015 and the 2015 Providence Business News Woman to Watch.