TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Claire Bridges is getting back on her feet, both figuratively and literally.
“I now have feet and I can’t make no feet jokes,” she said, showing off her new prosthetic legs.
The 21 year old from St. Petersburg had both legs amputated by doctors at Tampa General Hospital due to complications after testing positive for COVID-19 in January.
“TGH was amazing with taking care of me,” Bridges said. “They listened to me. They saved my life.”
8 On Your Side has followed Claire’s story from her hospitalization and amputations to homecoming right before her 21st birthday in March.
She was all smiles Wednesday evening at Grassroots Kava House in Ybor City after returning from Orlando with her newly fitted legs from Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates.
The young woman who loves rock climbing hasn’t been able to walk in six months.
“It feels like I’m walking on stilts,” she said. “It’s a little numb still. The nerves are coming back but I’ll get the hang of it.”
While in the hospital, the founder of 50 Legs, Steve Chamberland, learned about her story. The mission of his organization is to provide amputees with the care and prosthetics they need to live an active lifestyle.
“He essentially rallied a bunch of people to raise funds for my prosthetics,” Bridges said.
She told 8 On Your Side she is extremely grateful for everyone who has rallied behind her on the road to recovery.
“Coming out of it, it’s just so strange knowing so many people care about you, even if they don’t know you and they’re rooting for you,” she said. “It’s humbling.”
COVID also made her heart condition worse. She said she’s scheduled for surgery at the end of July.
After that, she hopes to get back to work behind the counter at the Kava House.