Professional dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis lost her lower left leg in the Boston Marathon bombing. Days after the attack, she vowed to dance again and she even promised Anderson a dance lesson. She achieved both goals and the highs and lows of her journey are captured in the CNN Special Report: The Survivor Diaires. Adrianne tells Anderson it is a really honest look at what it's like to go to hell and back.
AC360 Producer Chuck Hadad spent a year capturing the inspiring journey of Boston Marathon bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis. Here he talks about how Boston rallied around her after the attack. You can watch “CNN Special Report: The Survivor Diaries” Tuesday, April 8th at 10pm ET on CNN.
Adrianne Haslet-Davis lost her lower left leg in the Boston bombings. She and her husband Adam were just steps away from the second blast and shrapnel tore through both of their bodies. While the couple survived, the damage to Adrianne’s heel and Achilles tendon was so severe, doctors had no choice but to amputate.
“We have been faced with many challenges and our friends have stepped up their game and rocked the pants off of unconditional love, along with our families,” said Adrianne. “Learning … who will support us in our dark hours, it means the world.“
While family and friends formed the backbone of their support system, Adrianne and Adam also credit their hometown of Boston with helping them get through those dark hours. “The city lifted us up,” said Adam. “We’ve met some great people after this who've opened their hearts to us.”
Adrianne and Adam detail their journey as survivors of the Boston bombings in a new documentary titled “The Survivor Diaries,” which premieres on CNN on April 8th at 10 p.m. ET.
From Boston’s sports teams, to the Mayor, to strangers that recognized the couple from television interviews, Adrianne and Adam drew inspiration from people across the city. One night soon after Adrianne was released from the hospital, a man they'd met at a restaurant handed them his medal from a past Boston Marathon. “He ran home and gave me his 2009 marathon medal that he ran 26.2 miles to earn,” said Adrianne. “That he is willing to give it to us speaks volumes on the spirit of Boston.”
Adrianne’s first, of many, experiences in front of a sporting crowd came at a Boston Bruins playoff game. Just weeks after the attacks, before Adrianne had been fitted with a prosthetic leg, the team invited her to wave a “Boston Strong” flag in front of thousands of fans. "I wheeled out onto the ice and they just went crazy and I just felt such an outpouring of support, not just for myself, but for anyone else who had been through (the bombings)," she said.
Adrianne was also invited by the New England Patriots to walk through the tunnel and on to the field with other bombing survivors at the team's opening game of the season. "Since the marathon, I've had a huge outpouring of support from Boston ... and even people all over the world, that have wished both myself and Adam and the other survivors the best of luck," said Adrianne. "Out of that, I've had some pretty amazing opportunities come my way."
While all of Boston's teams reached out in support of bombing survivors, it was the Red Sox that inspired Adrianne and Adam the most. Some players and coaching staff visited them in the hospital in the early days of their recovery. The team had ended 2012 in last place and as the 2013 season progressed, and the Red Sox kept winning, they became a metaphor for the city as a whole – knocked down but ready to fight its way back.
Adam said it was the Red Sox that helped coin the phrase "Boston Strong" – it became a rallying cry that the couple took very much to heart. "We’re not going to let (the bombings) define us. This is not going be the defining moment. It’s the recovery that’s going to be the defining moment. It’s going to be our recovery that’s our story, it’s not going to be the attack."
The Red Sox went on to win the World Series at home and their storied season took on greater meaning in a city already fanatic about baseball. "It feels like we won the World Series ... I feel like we as a city won it," said Adrianne. "It wasn’t just the guys on the field, it felt like all of us were on the field when they won and I think that can only happen in Boston." The couple was honored to be invited to be part of the Red Sox World Series parade.
Beyond the special opportunities extended to Adrianne and Adam, they say it's Boston's sense of community that has had the biggest impact on their recovery. "The bombing has made me love the city more. I think that sounds weird to say out loud but it made me realize how a group of people can come together and fight back with kindness and generosity and outpouring of support," said Adrianne. "It made me realize how much a city can pull together. And what you get from that, what I’ve received from that, is pretty incredible."
In the year since the Boston Marathon bombing, Anderson Cooper has come to know Adrianne Haslet-Davis and her family. Here he shares his thoughts on her courageous journey. You can watch “CNN Special Report: The Survivor Diaries” this Tuesday, April 8th at 10pm ET on CNN.
Adrianne Haslet-Davis was sitting up in her hospital bed, a bandage wrapped over what remained of her left leg. That was how I first met her. It was just a few days after the Boston Marathon. Just a few days after the bombings that killed three people and left more than 200 others wounded. Just a few days, but Adrianne already knew nothing would ever be quite the same.
One second she was standing with her husband, Adam, tired after having watched the marathon longer than she'd planned, the next second she was crawling along the sidewalk screaming in pain.
That is how one's life changes. A split second. A shard of time that normally goes unnoticed, uncounted.
Adrianne's husband was also wounded in the bombing. They both agreed to be interviewed about what had happened and he was by her side when I pulled up a chair and we began to talk. We've been talking ever since.
To say Adrianne was inspiring in those dark, difficult days is an understatement. Her left leg was gone below the knee. She would need a prosthetic limb. But Adrianne wasn't just facing the difficulty of learning to walk again. Adrianne was a dance instructor. Dancing is what gave her a sense of freedom; it's what gave her joy. In that first conversation in her hospital room, Adrianne told me that she was determined to dance again.
None of us in that room knew then exactly what that would entail. Not just the hard work, the hundreds of hours of rehabilitation and physical therapy, but the technology required for Adrianne to dance. Most prosthetic legs are designed for repetitive motion – walking, running – but dancing requires a whole range of stresses on the foot. To dance again Adrianne would need a prosthetic leg designed just for dancing.
Often in the news business, we don’t revisit people we've met. After that first interview with Adrianne, I knew I wanted to continue visiting with her to get a real sense of her road to recovery. Adrianne didn't want to sugarcoat what she was going through and she agreed to film regular video diaries which provide us an intimate look at some of the most important moments for her this past year. She has courageously been willing to let us all see, not just her moments of triumph, but also her nights of terror - her heartbreak as well as her happiness.
That's what "The Survivor Diaries" is all about. It is Adrianne's story, the reality of what this past year has been like for her and her family.
If terrorism is violence designed to send a message, to instill fear, then the terror attacks in Boston failed. The hatred and hostility that led to those bombs being detonated caused pain and shock, tears and agony, but they did not achieve their goal. The people of Boston pulled together, stood tall, and moved forward. A year after the bombings, Adrianne walks tall, and yes, dances with grace and poise. Her struggles continue, her journey has just begun. She is a survivor, and I hope her story inspires you as it has inspired all those who know her.
“CNN Special Report: The Survivor Diaries” premiers Tuesday, April 8th at 10pm ET on CNN.
Professional dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis lost her lower left leg in the Boston Marathon bombing. In the days after the attack, Adrianne vowed that she would dance again. She even promised to give Anderson Cooper a dance lesson. "CNN Special Report: The Survivor Diaries" captures the highs and lows of Adrianne's inspirational journey and her triumphant return to the dance floor.
During today's event with the Boston Red Sox, President Obama paid tribute to those injured in the Boston Marathon bombings. He mentioned the recent achievement of Adrianne Haslet-Davis who just returned to dancing after losing part of her left leg in the terror attack.
Adrianne is the subject of “CNN Special Report: The Survivor Diaries.” It is a yearlong look at her recovery since the bombing. It premiers Tuesday, April 8th at 10pm ET on CNN.
Click here to watch a preview and find out more about Adrianne.
“CNN Special Report: The Survivor Diaries” premiers Tuesday, April 8th at 10pm ET on CNN.
Follow the journey of professional dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a Boston Marathon bombing survivor who had her lower left leg amputated after shrapnel tore through it. Haslet-Davis agreed not only to allow CNN to follow her journey to recovery, but also agreed to film her everyday life in video diaries. The exclusive videos she shared with CNN paint a raw, honest and at times heart-breaking picture of a woman battling extreme physical and emotional challenges.
The riveting one-hour documentary, hosted by Anderson Cooper, will take viewers through Adrianne’s journey from her tentative first steps in a prosthetic leg to her making good on her promise of a dance lesson for Anderson Cooper. Cooper first met Adrianne in her hospital room just one week after the tragedy and during their interview she vowed that she would dance again. Cooper was inspired by her resilience in the face of such adversity. “From the first time I met her, I knew that if anyone could overcome such huge odds and dance again after such a traumatic injury, it was her,” said Cooper. He was also heartened, but a bit intimidated, by another promise Adrianne made. “She told me once she was dancing again, that she’d give me a dance lesson. I’m a horrible dancer so I need the help,” said Cooper.