Rebekah Gregory, 26, from Richmond, Texas, was able to stand on her own two feet on Monday for the first time since that dreadful day in April
She has had to endure a staggering 14 surgeries and faced the prospect of having her left leg amputated countless times over the past eight months
'To put two feet on the ground again was the most amazing feeling,' she said
Her boyfriend-now-fiancé Pete DiMartino, 28, was also caught up in the blast and proposed to her in October
By Lydia Warren and David Mccormack
victim of the Boston Marathon bombings got an early Christmas present when she was able to stand on her own two feet on Monday for the first time since that dreadful day in April.
Rebekah Gregory, 26, has endured a staggering 14 surgeries and faced the prospect of having her left leg amputated countless times over the past eight months.
Gregory from Richmond, Texas, was watching her mom race in the marathon when the blast occurred killing three people and wounding 275 others.
Her left leg was very seriously wounded, she lost a lot of soft tissue and has had to undergo a number of skin grafts. Doctors also had to rebuild her ankle and she was treated for months for a painful bone infection.
Due to the complexity of her injuries, Gregory was the last patient connected to the bombings to be released from the hospital. She was discharged on June 10 - after 56 days in medical centers in Boston and Houston.
She had been due to start physical therapy in the summer, but then doctors decided that she needed to have a device drilled into the bone to get her foot into the right position if she hoped to ever walk on it again.
That device was taken off just before Thanksgiving and replaced by a cast, which on Monday was replaced by a walking boot.
To put two feet on the ground again was the most amazing feeling,’ she told NBC News. ‘And just right before Christmas, too. It’s like, what an amazing present this year.’
But Gregory still has a long way to go, and she has described the moment she put her foot down in the boot as extremely painful.
‘It was awful. It was the worst pain all over again,’ she said. ‘Putting it on the ground doesn’t feel right and it feels like it’s just crushing what bones I have left.’
Gregory admits that she was initially disappointed on Monday that she couldn’t walk out of the doctor’s office in the boot.
Her doctors estimate that it will be another six months to a year before she is walking more freely. For now, Gregory is just happy at how far she has come since the blast.
It just hit me: I’ve come such a long way and even though I have such a long way to go, I’m so blessed for this journey and to be able to help people and inspire people along the way,’ she said.
Also watching Rebekah’s mom Tina run in the Boston marathon was her boyfriend-now-fiancé Pete DiMartino, 28, and her six-year-old son Noah.
He proposed to her in October by kneeling beside her wheelchair at her home in Richmond, Texas, and presenting her with a ring he had custom-made following the April 15 attack. She said yes.
'I said, "You're my best friend and I love you",' he told NBC News. 'I couldn't get anything else out, I was shaking.'
The couple, who met on a work trip, have been together for a year and said they knew before the attacks that they had found the perfect match - but agreed the experience brought them even closer
They were near the marathon finish line with Gregory's six-year-old son Noah when the two homemade bombs exploded in April, killing three and injuring more than 270.
Noah suffered injuries to his lungs and scrapes and bruises, but DiMartino and Gregory both required multiple surgeries and both continue to undergo rehabilitation.
As well as a ruptured eardrum, DiMartino lost 90 per cent of his right Achilles' tendon and suffered broken bones in his ankles and it has taken him months of physical therapy to learn to walk again.
DiMartino said watching his girlfriend fight through the multiple surgeries was inspiring and he joked that he 'had to jump on it before somebody else did'.
Going through an experience like the marathon makes you realize how short life really is and how we don't really know how much time we have left,' Gregory said.
The couple are now building a home in Richmond, and DiMartino will move there from his home in Rochester, New York. They have designed the house, which includes a master bedroom on the ground floor to make it easier for Gregory.
DiMartino is even working towards taking part in an upcoming 5K race.
They hope to marry within a year but said that they have had so much stress in recent months that they don't plan on having a large event.
'We're marrying each other, that's all that matters,' Gregory said.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2529067/What-amazing-Christmas-present-Boston-bombing-victim-fiance-injured-finally-stands-two-feet-time-blast.html#ixzz2oV8aKOEv
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