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From: Orange County, CA

Lives: Orange County, CA

Profession/Day Job: Artist, Future Geologist, Pokemon Trainer

Other: Rare Disease Research Participant, National Institutes of Health

Amy Hansen

Amy has been fighting the odds her whole life. She was born with not one but two extremely rare genetic disorders that affect her brain, bones, skin, eyes, and other organs. Finding fun and exciting activities has been hard for Amy with her medical concerns. But, she loves a challenge, and when she was invited to a Best Day event she knew she had to try.

Amy says that the first time she stood up on a surf board, “it felt like I was standing on the back of a flying dragon!” And, she couldn’t wait to get back. That next Best Day event was a long time coming, however. One afternoon, doing nothing more than taking a step, the diseased bone in her right femur spiraled and fractured. After emergency surgery and a titanium rod placed in her leg, Amy had to learn to walk again. In the hospital she sadly told her parents, “I can’t be a surfer anymore.”

But Best Day had different ideas! With the approval of Amy’s doctors and physical therapist, returning to Best Day became the goal of her therapy. Slowly she gained strength and balance, moving from wheelchair to walker to walking. Three months later she was back on the beach with her surf team. It took a couple of failed attempts but they kept at it. By the third wave, Amy was up on her knees, then with the steady support of tandem surfer, “Mumbles,” she slowly balanced on her feet and rode the wave – she was a surfer again! When she got back to the shore she was stoked. She said, “I feel like I can do anything now!”

Highlights

  • Overcoming medical challenges to surf with Best Day Foundation
  • Winning the National TOYchallenge grand prize for designing a new type of boogie board, Boogie2Boogie, with her team, The Wave Riders
  • Eighteen months post-femur fracture completing a 5K runDisney event
  • Speaking to 180 credential students about what it’s like to grow up with special needs
  • Giving a thank you speech to the Best Day Orange County chapter at their 5 year anniversary

In Amy’s Words

“Best Day is special because it is fun AND challenging. Some people who come to Best Day are scared to put their feet in the water. Some are afraid to talk to new people. Some are afraid to surf. I’m a little scared to stand up paddle. Everyone has different things but we are all the same. Best Day volunteers help us to overcome our challenges because they are excited to meet everybody, and we all have fun together.”

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