PureDWTS Exclusive Interview: Boston Bombing Survivor Adrianne Haslet Davis Re-defining The Finish Line

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“You realize what kind of life you lived, and that flashes before you, and then you realize what kind of life that you want to live after.” ~Adrianne Haslet Davis

What a huge honor to be able to interview Boston Bombing Survivor Adrianne Haslet Davis. But, Adrianne is much more than a survivor. I think some people are angels on earth and that is Adrianne Haslet Davis to me. With her strength, courage, determination, and love she has come full circle and has a message for millions. She’s now “re-defining the finish line” in more ways than one. Read on to read our Exclusive interview to see why…..and don’t forget to tune into the Boston Marathon on April 18th to see Adrianne run for the first time since the 2013 terror attacks. Also, let’s hope Dancing With The Stars asks Adrianne back to the show to do a special performance and follow up. Wouldn’t that be awesome? With that said, thank you to Adrianne for her beautiful self and her time. Also, thanks to those who submitted questions. A special thanks to Cathy as well for assisting me. ~Vogue x

Vogue: Hi Adrianne! What an honor it is to be able talk with you. I’ve been a long time fan and have been watching your progress since the Boston Bombings! What an angel you are who has come full circle. You have become a huge inspiration and beacon of light for others through this awful tragedy. Through it all, you’ve turned it inside out and not let it or the terrorists beat you. How have you been able to overcome everything and maintain such a beautiful outlook, love, and passion for people? Not only that, you haven’t let anything stop you from dancing or running.

The biggest motivation keeping me going is knowing how far I have come, yet also how real the struggle was to get here. I never want to portray that I have overcome everything, because I feel like my recovery is an ongoing forever process. We all evolve and change, and my love and passion for people is a direct connection with that. I am motivated by the struggle to keep going even when we feel like pulling our head under the covers. Life is tough but that is what makes it beautiful!

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Eight years ago, my sister injured her neck and suffered a brain injury after falling on a horse. It’s been a long road to recovery. At one point the doctors told my sister she’d never have beyond a 5th grade comprehension level and she’d never complete a college class. Afterwards she had a “defining moment” and refused to let this this happen. When and what was your “defining moment” after what happened to you?

I am so sorry to hear about your sister. I had a similar reaction form a doctor. My defining moment came as soon as that happened. Call it determined or call it stubborn, but I was wanting nothing more than to prove him wrong. To have a terrorist come along and try to take my life away was one thing. To have another come and try to take my dancing dreams away was just too much to handle. I was a woman on a mission.

PJ: You are so amazing, Adrianne. My question is: I know you said you have good days and bad days. What motivates you to get through the “bad” days?

I believe the good days prepare you for the bad days and vice versa. When I have bad days I think “This is a reminder of how bad it was, every day, for so long. Now it is a time for you to grieve, take a time out, cry in a bath, and get to bed early.” I don’t try and fight it. Not being emotionally honest with myself on how I feel leads to stress and anxiety and heightens my PTS.

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Cathy: Since the time you were featured on DWTS in April 2013 immediately following your injury, has your outlook on life changed? If so, in what way?

It has changed immensely. I am more self aware. I am dedicating my time and efforts to better the lives of amputees through charities and volunteer work. This allows me to keep everything in perspective in my own life, and pass on what i learned on my road to my new normal to so many though public speaking.

Cathy: What has been more challenging for you…learning to dance again or training to run in the Boston Marathon this year?

That’s tough. I’d have to say dancing. Early on when learning to dance again I would always compare myself to what I used to do and feel like before losing my leg. It was heartbreaking. It took a long time to start being proud of the progress I was making as a result. When I was first running, I had nothing to compare it to. I had never been a runner, so using the blade, though difficult, is the only thing I know.

Adrianne Haslet Davis by CBSNews

Kaitlyn: I was actually at the Boston ‘Move Live on Tour’ show and was able to see you dance on stage with Derek Hough. You could feel the energy in the room that you two had and that it meant so much to both of you. How did that meeting and dance come about?

Oh how fun! Derek and Julianne’s show was incredible. I heard they were coming to town on tour and bought tickets that included a meet and greet. My dance partner and I went and were so honored to meet them before the show. Then, in the middle of the show, Derek came out and talked about how we all face hard times in life, and we can either let those moments define us or empower us. He then talked about the marathon and how strong Boston was, and still is. He said that there was someone in the audience who showed an example of that. He called my name and I was so shocked, it wasn’t planned at all, and I was so humbled! I went up on stage and he asked the audience to clap to his rhythm. He whispered in my ear, “ChaCha?” and I said Yes! Then I was in a lift and it was pure magic. He is an incredible person who truly embraces the idea that motion equals emotion!

Cathy: Watching you dance so spontaneously with Derek on stage during his MOVE Live on Tour show in Boston this past July was a truly touching and extremely poignant moment, and both of you moved us beyond words. You represented everything that MOVE stands for. How has that special and powerful moment dancing with Derek changed your life? How meaningful was this dance with Derek for you? What words of encouragement and inspiration did he personally give you?

Thank you! I think of it so often. It is a reminder that any of us can have such an impact on someone’s life at any given moment. We should always be aware of those moments. Think of those that you know or do not know, or pass on the street. Think of how impactful just smiling at them could be. We can all pass on Derek’s message.

Cathy: Do you think that one day you’ll write a book about overcoming obstacles and about your new journey in life? It certainly would be most fascinating and inspirational!

Thank you! I am a lover of writing, and I do so often. So yes, a book is on it’s way!

Back to Vogue: Recently, you danced at the Boston Marathon finish line. What was that moment in time like? I’ve watched video of that dance over and over. It was so beautiful and the messages in it were endless that couldn’t be put into words. It made me cry and I was so happy for you.

It made me cry too! It was during a difficult time for me, as I was testifying within just days at the trial. My emotions were high and I was ready to re-define the finish line. A soon as my feet were on it I started to cry, and I thought about every time I had cried in pain that led me there. This time, thought hey were tears of joy!

Adrianne, we hope that someday Dancing With The Stars will follow up on your journey on the show. Would you be open to doing a special performance or anything else on the show?

Yes, Yes, absolutely, anytime!

Are you watching Dancing With The Stars this season? If so, who is your favorite couple so far?

I am! I just went to the show on Monday and they wished me luck on the marathon. I loved Doug Flutie, and Antonio Brown, but they are all so talented and the season is young!

Adrianne, thank you for taking time out to talk with us like you have. Thank you for being you and for touching our lives with your story of hope, joy, and determination. Also, thank you for not letting the terrorists have the last word. We look so forward to continuing to following your progress and spreading your message. Lastly, best wishes to you as you run in the upcoming Boston Marathon on April 18! Go get em and keep us posted! Hugs xxxx


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