At The Table With: Stefanie Schaffer, Bilateral Amputee and Author of “Without Any Warning”

Jun 28, 2024

Name: Stefanie Schaffer

Preferred Name: Stefanie

Pronouns: She/Her

Instagram: @stefanieschafferrr

Favorite Sur La Table Appliance or Tool: KitchenAid Stand Mixer


“When I got home from the hospital, the first thing I challenged myself to do with my new prosthetic legs was stand and cook in the kitchen with my family.”


That’s what Stefanie Schaffer–-lifestyle influencer and author of Without Any Warning, a memoir detailing the lifechanging accident that took both of her legs–-needed to feel normal.

“I couldn’t walk around the kitchen at all, but I could stand next to them and prep the recipe. I remember them handing me a knife and cutting board and passing me one ingredient at a time, and I felt like myself again being able to stand next to them and help.”

Food has always played a central role in Stefanie’s life–-from birthdays to cooking meals at home, she tells us that cooking for others is her family’s love language.

“My family has always shown our love through cooking, and that’s how I now show it to everyone I care about. From making someone coffee to cooking a meal, it’s always been how we try to make moments of a day special.”

And it isn’t just her love for a shared meal that she inherited from her parents. In fact, as Stefanie tells us, they’re not only her biggest support system, but also intrinsic to how she approaches life.

“I think my background and upbringing played a really important role in my recovery immediately after my injuries and has helped to shape my life today.

My family was the biggest support system to me right away; I was never alone in the five months I was in the hospital, so that allowed me to see the bigger picture–-it kept me from ever feeling too bad for myself because I always had something to be grateful for in them.

That support now lets me be brave enough to try everything new and intimidating because I know no matter what happens they are behind me.”

While her recovery was hard, Stefanie explained that her accident gave her a new appreciation and outlook on life. One, she tells us, is rooted in connection.

“I think this accident gave me a shift in perspective where I realize that our life is precious and to make the most of it and to value my relationships and prioritize how I treat people.

It allows me to slow down and be grateful. And it also allows me to work hard and push through challenges, knowing that all of us are stronger than we often even know that we are.”

It’s that strength and fortitude that she hopes shines through to her followers–an impressive 125,000 of them. But even with the support of her online community, there are still individuals who are unable to see past her disability.

“I’ve definitely seen some comments that come from a place of ignorance–those can really hurt.

The most hurtful thing I’ve experienced as a disabled creator are the comments that come from people who claim I am being used simply to ‘check the inclusivity box.’ That hurts because you work hard for something and then people out there think you only got whatever it is because you’re disabled and not because you deserve it.”

But it’s those very same comments that push Stefanie to work harder.

“To me, Disability Pride is a combination of acknowledging that I have the right to grieve what was lost and the life that I could have had, while at the same time celebrating the wonderful life I’ve created despite it. 

I work hard every single day to not let this injury take more from me, by pushing myself to do everything I still want to do. But it is hard, and I think this month is a time to be proud of yourself for everything that goes into living life as a disabled individual.”

And what does life as a disabled person look like for Stefanie?

“I think life is all about collecting little moments of happiness, however that may look for you.

If that’s traveling, staying home, working at your career; do whatever it is 

that feels right for you. If you do that, I think we can all look back one day and feel content with the life we’ve lived.”

Whether she’s traveling the world, trying out new adaptive sports or exploring her home state of Vermont, the desire to live life on her terms is what drives her.

“Now I approach my life with the values and lifestyle that were instilled in me growing up–whether that’s hanging out at home, reading, resting and cooking, or getting out there and exploring the world, traveling, going to new places, finding new activities like adaptive sports or something else to challenge me.“

And, if she can show just one person that a fulfilling life is possible–complete with new adventures, new friends and, of course, new memories made over the sharing of a homecooked mealfor Stefanie, that’s what really matters.

“Social media played a large role in my recovery.

When I saw girls my age with similar injuries that were still dressing in stylish clothes, still going out and traveling and living a full and happy life, it made me realize that I could do this too. Being able to play even a small role like that for someone else makes me so incredibly happy. So, any comment, direct message or question asked of me on social media that l get–that brings me joy.”

Hungry for more? You can follow along with Stefanie’s adventures via her Instagram @stefanieschafferrr. Or, check out her memoir, Without Any Warning, to learn more about her story.

Shop Stefanie’s Book

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