British Columbia

Bomb survivor walks runway for Vancouver Fashion Week

Professional dancer Adrianne Haslet, who lost her leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, is walking in a show that celebrates body diversity.

Professional dancer Adrianne Haslet lost her leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing

Professional dancer Adrianne Haslet hasn't let the loss of her leg during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing slow her down. (Adrianne Haslet/Instagram)

A survivor of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing said the event has not stopped her from living life to the fullest — even flying to Vancouver to be part of a Fashion Week show celebrating body diversity.

Adrianne Haslet, a professional ballroom dancer, lost her left leg below her knee in the terrorist attack.

She remembers the morning of April 15, 2013 clearly.

"That morning I was taking a day off from being a full-time dancer ... I turned on the television just to hear Lelisa Desisa had won the 2013 Boston Marathon and it is his first Boston Marathon.

"I just though, oh my gosh, I can't believe that someone would ... be able to run 26.2 miles [in his first Boston marathon and win]. I then couldn't lounge on the couch, and I went down to watch a little bit of the marathon and took myself down to lunch."

Haslet was at a spot near the finish line with most of the crowd, when she heard a loud bang. She felt the ground shake and the air fill up with black smoke.

Medical workers aid injured people following an explosion at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

"I covered my ears and my face and the next thing I knew I was on the ground. I never lost consciousness. I remember everything," she said.

"As soon as the smoke cleared and I looked down, I no longer had an ankle or the bottom of my foot. I knew in that moment I was going to die."

But Haslet didn't die. She was taken to hospital where her left leg was amputated.

"It was awful. It was horrid. I thought for sure I would just be eating Cheetos and watching television for the rest of my life. I didn't think I would ever dance again," she said.

Haslet has become an amputee advocate and motivational public speaker. (Adrianne Haslet/Instagram)

Instead, the experience connected her to opportunities she never would have foreseen — like walking the catwalk for Vancouver Fashion Week.

Most importantly, she has been able to keep dancing.

"I have a wonderful prosthetist (person that makes prosthetic limbs). My ankle bends and it's all about finding balance, keeping in shape, and keeping your core strength," she explained.

Haslet still struggles with post-traumatic stress.

Getting on a plane and coming to Vancouver to walk in Fashion Week almost didn't happen, she says, especially after Wednesday's terrorist attack in London, England.

"I barely got on the plane to come here. It was very difficult for me," she said.

"I called my parents and I said I can't handle you getting another call saying your daughter was in another terrorist attack.

"I'm still only into year three — almost four — and that's young as far as recovery goes ... I'm thankful for the opportunities to inspire other amputees."   

Haslet is walking Canadian designer Lesley Hampton's show on Mar. 25. Hampton's work celebrates and highlights diversity and bodies of all shapes and sizes.

With files from The Early Edition

To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled Bombing survivor walks the runway for Vancouver Fashion Week