The Christmas holiday season means many things for Rebekah Gregory. Eight months ago the 26-year-old endured a tragedy that gave her a life changing perspective.
"I know what is important now," said Rebekah. "My faith and family keeps me strong. If I didn't have them by my side I don't know what I would do."
Rebekah, her son Noah, and then boyfriend Pete DiMartino were all injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. They were standing 10 feet away from the finish line when the two bombs exploded.
"I passed out in the ambulance, and when I woke up, I was in the ICU on a ventilator. I basically had every bone in my left leg, up to my knee, completely crushed. Doctors had to piece my foot back together. At that point I was unsure of my future."
Doctors had to rebuild her foot and ankle. Several metal rods were placed inside of her leg and foot to stabilize her ankle.
"There were dials on the outside of rods and I would have to turn them every night. The pain was awful. The dials were turning my foot to reach a 90 degree angle. Some nights I couldn't take the pain."
She persevered through the suffering, and months later graduated into a leg cast. Weeks after Rebekah was in her cast, she received a sudden call from her doctor to come in for a visit the day before Christmas Eve. He told her that she could take her cast off and wear a walking boot.
"This was the best Christmas present ever! We were all so excited. The last several months have been incredible. I have had the most down days, and then the highest points of my life," said Gregory.
The walking boot will help Rebekah become comfortable with her leg without a cast, and withstand the weight of her body while standing up. After 15 surgeries, a bone infection and the threat of amputation Rebekah is finally able to stand. She still has a tough road ahead of her, but she has vowed never to stop walking in faith.
"When I first put the boot on I though I was going to get up and walk out of the doctors office and everything was going to be OK, but as soon as my foot hit the ground for the first time it was like every bone was breaking again. I was discouraged, but then I had to remember how far I had come. I have come through some big obstacles, and I'm not done," she said.
Rebekah will have a three week trial period with her walking boot before she going back to her doctor. He will assess her progress and decide how to move forward.
"We continue to pray for miracles," said Tina Gregory, Rebekah's mom. "God has shown His face to us in ways that we never could have imagined. We knew we had great friends and family, but we really didn't know until we needed them. 2014 will be a good year, but 2013 was a great year too," she said.
The family has a wedding to look forward to in 2014. In October, her now fiance Pete DiMarino, proposed to her in their new home. "I'm excited for her, and I know she really wants to walk down the isle," said DiMartino.
Her doctors have told her they expect to see progress within 6 months to a year. "I learn something new about myself every day. If it turns out that I have to amputate my leg so be it. My leg is not my life, but until that point I will keep trying. One thing is for sure, I will walk again," she said.