The emotional and mental scars that still linger for those who walk near Boston’s Copley Square are echoed by a U.S. ballroom dancer who vowed to dance again, even after losing her foot. Award-winning ballroom dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis returned to the stage almost a year after the Boston Bombings, where the second blast changed she and her husband's lives forever. Haslet-Davis remained adamant about her decision to continue teaching ballroom dancing in Boston since the early days of her recovery.
"I feel like somebody has come along and said, 'Oh, we're not going to let you do that anymore,'” said Haslet-Davis to Anderson Cooper, just a week after the bombings, CNN reported. "I'm going to prove them wrong." The professional dancer has not only battled the mental anguish she felt, but also the physical challenges of walking and eventually dancing again. Months of intense physical therapy were needed before the dancer could build enough endurance in her leg to walk again — all with the help of a bionic limb.
Dr. Hugh Herr, ones of the world’s leading creators of bionic prosthetic limbs as director of the Biomechatronics group at the MIT Media Lab, and his team helped create the world’s first bionic leg designed specifically for dancing. "We have to use ... artificial type intelligence," Herr told CNN. "Intelligence built into the bionic limb has to understand fundamentally the nature of the dance."
After overcoming the overwhelming odds of whether she would be able to dance again, Haslet-Davis promised to give Cooper a dance lesson. Although many may consider her a victim because of her circumstances, the ballroom dancer affirms she isn’t one by any means. "A victim ... means that I somehow belong to somebody or I'm suffering because of him and I'm not suffering. I'm thriving," Haslet-Davis said. "I am a survivor."
CNN's "The Survivor Diaries" scheduled to air tonight, April 8 at 10 p.m. ET., follows Haslet-Davis’ journey to recovery and documents her everyday life.