ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — An aspiring model from St. Petersburg is taking her first steps into a new life after having both of her legs amputated earlier this year.
If anything, Claire Bridges is a fighter. A heart condition she was born with made her COVID diagnosis extremely difficult, resulting in doctors having to amputate both legs. Through it all, the 20-year-old remained steadfast, telling the doctors, "I want bionic legs" after they broke the news to her that she'd be losing her lower limbs. She also thanked them for saving her life.
Initially admitted to Tampa General Hospital for COVID-19 complications back in January, Bridges was diagnosed with COVID myocarditis, rhabdomyolysis, mild pneumonia, cyanotic and acidosis.
Since then, she's undergone multiple surgeries and battled numerous health conditions before returning home on St. Patrick's Day. And now, she's stepping into a new journey.
A little less than three months after leaving the hospital, Bridges took her first steps with prosthetic legs. Using handrails and the support around her, Bridges put one foot in front of the other with a smile at Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates in Orlando. The video was captured by her father, Wayne Bridges, who has documented her journey on his Facebook.
"There is no stopping you, Claire," her dad said in a post.
The founder of 50 Legs, Steve Chamberland, helped Claire receive her prosthetic legs. 50 Legs is an organization in Clearwater that works to help people get prosthetic legs they otherwise couldn't afford.
A GoFundMe account is available to help raise money for Claire Bridges' medical and ongoing recovery expenses.