Heather’s personal experience of having lived through the massive shock of a traumatising accident and her well documented positive attitude of overcoming a life time of adversity has given her the internal strength to bounce back so strongly. As an amputee, Heather has gone on to lead a richly rewarding life through her dedication and determination. She has chosen to help others that need support during their own tragic experiences. Heather is living proof of what can be achieved after life has dealt such a crushing blow.
Heather’s personal counselling has enriched the lives of so many individuals that have lost limbs and suffered under the immense stress of terrorist atrocities, natural disasters and road accidents such as Heather was the victim of over 20 years ago.
Naturally women and men that have lost limbs through a traumatising experience can be frightened of their future. They have said that they feel that they are somehow no longer attractive to the opposite sex.
Heather has proven that just because you loose a limb it does not mean that you suddenly loose your individuality and uniqueness as a person. Heather, a picture of health and womanly confidence has counselled both women and men for many years, and has shown that a portrayal of your internal self is a reflection of what the outside world sees. Therefore, personal determination and having faith in oneself speaks volumes.
Heather has a unique insight and affinity with those who themselves have lived through such tragic experiences and she has the rare ability to instil enthusiasm and positive thinking into others, leading by example.
Shunning the quite negative ‘prepare for the worst’ approach offered to her by some medical professionals during her initial recovery period following her 1993 accident, Heather was determined not to let the loss of her leg stop her from doing all of the things she loved.
Her speedy return to the ski slopes and modelling was a testament to her success. This then lead on to her lifetime of work in charity, campaigning, television, public and motivational speaking, launching a world wide vegan food chain, competing as an Alpine Ski Racer and becoming a 5 time world record holder in Alpine sports.
Heather's drive comes from her heart.
She has shown amputees that you can do a solo sky dive, ice skate, ballroom dance, play tennis and run a marathon.
The list is endless.
The only stopping point is from the person themselves. Anything is possible. There is always a solution. Having all the important goals in sight helped Heather push herself to the limit with a steely determination.
Heather voluntarily counsels people from around the world who have lost limbs in accidents, through illness, natural disasters and terrorist atrocities. In India after the earthquake disaster in Gujarat, Heather organised a campaign to help amputees of this terrible atrocity and visited the bedside of many Indians that had lost limbs after this disaster. Those she counselled spoke little English, but this did not create a communication barrier. Once Heather removed her prosthetic leg to the surprise of many patients and their families, a unique rapport was generated and the mood lightened.
Heather is very relaxed about her leg and encourages families to overcome any fears they may hold of viewing or touching the residual limb of an amputee. The best thing family members can do is to give their loved ones highly beneficial massages to the residual limb area. This greatly improves the circulation and comforts the amputee.
Heather speaking of her experiences in India
"The first person they introduced me to was a ten-year old boy, Dilip Pranji who had lost his left arm through the shoulder. A piece of farm machinery had fallen on him during one of the after shocks following on from the earthquake in his village. Dilip lived 50 miles from the nearest hospital and his family had carried him all the way.
He was still in shock and looked at me numbly. But then, when I sat on the bed and removed my artificial leg, I took his hand and got him to touch the prosthetic leg, his face changed."
"When I took it off so we could compare our amputated limbs, he softened and got really interested. Even the doctors seemed impressed. They'd become used to well-known faces at the hospital, but none of them had come up with a party trick quite like mine.”
Heather is able to offer the kind of practical advice that can come only from someone who has lived through tragedy. Heather is able to understand the feelings of many patients she visits, and is able to express this understanding. The presence of an individual that has been through a similar injury and continued to lead a richly fulfilling life, gains the confidence of the survivors and their families. The patient will then often transform their dispirited feelings and replace them with feelings of a positive life-asserting nature.
The idea of an amputee forum was inspired by Heather. Many individuals now share their vital information, offering advice and support gained through their own personal experiences helping those in need of guidance, who then go on to help others in the future in a wonderfully rewarding reciprocal way.
Designed as a helpful resource for amputees, the amputee forum has become one of the Internets most respected and active forums helping amputees and their families get good advice whenever they need it. With over 74,000 active posts and over 1,500 registered members, the forum provides a wealth of information and helps make this resource one of the most valuable tools on the web for amputees.