Budding Model Has Legs Amputated From COVID Complications; Leaves Hospital to Celebrate 21st Birthday

Claire Bridges with her medical team sitting up for the first time in hospital; Claire with her friend/roommate Heather Valdes next to Claire with Claire's mom, Kimberly White, who is standing behind her daughter.
Claire Bridges

Claire Bridges shared an exciting milestone on her Instagram after her near-death experience: “I sat up by myself today!!" "So stoked!” she wrote.

An aspiring model who had to have both legs amputated due to COVID-19 complications went home to celebrate her 21st birthday surrounded by family and friends last week.

Claire Bridges, a courageous young woman, was born with a congenital heart condition, according to People.

When she tested positive for COVID in early January, she had already been fully vaccinated.

On Jan. 16, when her health began to rapidly decline she was hospitalized and put in ICU, and was on life support.

Doctors diagnosed her condition as COVID-19 myocarditis, cyanotic, acidosis, rhabdomyolysis, and mild pneumonia, The New York Post reported

One of the complications that developed was restricted blood flow to her legs. The life-threatening infection was so dire that it required doctors to amputate her legs, Newsweek reported.  

On March 17, after spending two months in a medical facility in Tampa, Florida, Bridges was able to return to her home in St. Petersburg.

Before the young woman contracted COVID she was working toward a modeling career.  Her Instagram is filled with images of her smiling with different backdrops, including posing on a boat and standing on the beach. One of her recent images is a photo of her sitting upright on her hospital bed.

“I sat up by myself today!!," she wrote. "So stoked!” 

Many of her 5,000 plus followers have been expressing their support and admiration to Bridges.

“You are a true inspiration Claire!!!!,” one person wrote. “Thank you for being you!! We are rooting for you.”

In a recent Facebook post, Bridges' father, Wayne Bridges called his daughter a “warrior,” Newsweek reported

"Two months to the day this all started and Claire, for the first time sat up by herself! It may not seem like a lot, but for this Warrior, it's a major victory!" he wrote. 

He also spoke of the challenges and long recovery ahead which includes, rehab, physical and occupational therapy, as his daughters prepare for prosthetics. 

To help raise money for Bridges’ medical and living expenses, a GoFundMe has been organized by Bridges' roommate and friend, Heather Valdes.

“[Claire] will have to make major adjustments into a new way of life and any funds raised can help ease some of the challenges she may experience with medical and living experiences. Anything helps!” she wrote. 

As of Friday more than $108,000 has been raised towards their goal of $150,000.

Last weekend while sitting in her backyard with loved ones Bridges wrote: “Home & Outside.” Following up with, “21st spent right! Grateful for all the love and wishes," she said.

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