Woman snowboards after having legs amputated following an accident on the slopes

A snowboarder has defied the odds by getting back on her board after an accident on the slopes led to both her legs being amputated.

Lexie Bader, 26, developed an agonising nerve condition after an accident while snowboarding.

Rather than live with constant pain, Lexie decided amputation of both her lower legs would give her her life back.

Now, she can run, rock climb, ski, and even ice climb, thanks to blades – a type of prosthetic limb – made by her boyfriend.

Lexie said: ‘Getting back to snowboarding was one of the most important things to me.

‘Although I was told by my doctors that I’d never be the same again, I’ve always been determined and strong-willed, so I was positive I’d get back to doing what I love.’

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Lexi had been skiing and snowboarding since she was a child.

She explains: ‘I’ve been skiing since I was four, and switched to snowboarding when I was around 14.

‘At 15, I had an accident where I slid into a tree at around 20mph.

‘I broke my ankle, but it never healed right, and over nine years, I had around 30 surgeries on it.’

Then, in 2019, Lexie received another devastating health diagnosis.

She says: ‘In 2019, I was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome – CRPS – and was told that there was no cure for it. It is also known as the suicide disease.

‘They said there was nothing else they could do for me. I was 21 by this point and decided I wasn’t prepared to live with the pain.

‘It wasn’t an option for me, so I decided to research amputees and spoke to them and decided it was the best option for me.’

Lexie told doctors she wanted to have her legs amputated.

She says: ‘They thought I was crazy at first, but I wanted a better quality of life, and I eventually found some doctors that agreed with me.’

So in March 2019, Lexie underwent her first leg amputation, six inches below her knee.

The surgery went smoothly, but within six months the nerve disease had spread.

Lexie said: ‘Going into my first amputation, I was so scared, but I knew that the outcome was going to be better than the pain I was experiencing.

‘I had bionic chips put into my leg, so I could control my bionic limb with my brain. Thankfully, it healed really quickly following my amputation.

‘However, during Covid, the nerve disease spread to the other side of my body and began to affect my other leg.

‘I was devastated and just wanted to get my life back on track. The option came up to amputate my other leg, and I decided that I wanted it done.

‘I couldn’t handle the pain anymore. It was just holding me back from everything in life.’

In January 2021, Lexie had her right leg amputated too.

‘By this point, I was really over it, and I just wanted to move on without any pain. I wanted to live my life to its fullest during my 20s.

‘I wanted to be able to work and earn my own money and not have my parents pay for everything for me.

‘Although it seems strange that having both of my legs removed would give me a new lease of life, the sheer pain I was in before was worse than anything.’

Lexie now has two two prosthetic legs, with various feet that screw into the bottom of the sockets.

The different blades allow her to not just get by every day, but also stay adventurous by running, skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, and ice climbing.

Lexie said: ‘My boyfriend actually made me my rock climbing blades, and I am currently making my ice climbing ones.

‘Sadly, they aren’t covered by my insurance, and I can’t afford to buy them, so we have turned to making them ourselves using wood and rubber, and then drilling them into my legs.

‘When I first got with my boyfriend, he knew me with one leg, and now he knows me with no legs. I am so grateful for his love and support throughout all of this.

‘I don’t think I could have got through it without him.

And now, Lexie is back on the slopes.

She said: ‘This season of snowboarding has been the first season I have really got back on the slopes since my amputations.

‘I’ve gone snowboarding almost every single weekend with my partner, and have been able to snowboard the entire weekend comfortably.

‘There have been times when I have called my prosthetist in tears, thanking him for getting me back to doing what I love.

‘At first, I couldn’t even go from sitting down to standing up, but I have recently just done my first double black slope this weekend.

‘This season has been indescribable, and I am incredibly happy.

‘I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to get to this point.

‘People thought I would regret my decision to amputate my legs, and I wanted to prove to others what I could do.

‘However, now I realise I wanted to prove it to myself and not just for others.’

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