Boston Marathon bombing victim speaks on life after tragedy
The victims boyfriend flew to her Houston home six months after the tragedy and proposed
It has been almost six months since the Boston Marathon bombing, but for Rebekah Gregory the day of the attack feels like it was yesterday. She still replays images of the bombing in her mind.
She went to Boston for her 26th birthday with her 5-year-old son Noah. Her boyfriend Pete Di Martino flew Rebekah and her son to New York, and then drove to Boston to cheer on Pete's mother in the Marathon.
"We had so much fun in Boston," said Rebekah. "We went to a Red- Sox's game and toured the city. We were so excited to see Pete's mom in the race," she said.
Her excitement turned to horror when two bombs were detonated at the finish line. Rebekah, her son, and boyfriend were standing less than 10 feet away.
"We were thrown back, and I just remember chaos and everything being a grey color," she said. "Everyone was screaming. I couldn't feel the pain yet, I was just worried about my son. I tried to reach up to grab him, but I physically couldn't. That's when I looked down and saw that my leg was shattered, and the bone was lying next to me. I was screaming for Noah, and I could hear him call out, 'mommy mommy,' and I thought I was going to die," she said.
Boston first responders rushed Noah to the hospital. He suffered a gash to his leg, some internal bleeding, and a piece of shrapnel hit his head. Her boyfriend Pete, was also injured.
"Ninety percent of the tendons were severed in his foot, and he had multiple burns and shrapnel wounds," said Rebekah.
All three of them went to separate hospitals. While she was screaming in pain, emergency crews lifted her into an ambulance. "It felt like I was burning, the pain was so bad. I kept hearing them say 'we have an amputee on our hands,' and I knew I was going to lose my leg," she said.
After 57 days in the hospital, countless surgeries, hundreds of stitches she is still holding on to her leg.
"Doctors had to literally reconstruct my leg, and I still don't know if I'm going to keep it. Right now it’s being held together by metal rods and the pain is unimaginable, but every day I am so thankful. I told God, if they have to take my leg, then so be it. I have my life, and I have my son, and my family," she said.
The two explosions killed three people and injured 264 others. After weeks in the hospital, Rebekah was air-lifted to Hermann Memorial in Houston, TX where doctors continued to try and save her leg.
"I can remember at one point I was trying to talk to my mom and I couldn't because tubes were down my throat, but I wrote to her 'God is not through with me yet,' and I believe that. Through this tragedy and through my scars there is a story to tell," she said.
In between surgeries Rebekah and her boyfriend Pete communicated through Skype and phone conversations. The tragedy brought them closer together. Unable to live another moment apart, Pete flew into Houston to surprise Rebekah almost six months after the attack in Boston. When he saw her he got down on one knee, leand into her wheelchair and asked Rebekah to marry him.
"I always say that April 15th was the best and worst day of my life, because before that I don't know if I was really truly living. Now I appreciate every day, every breath, and every moment with my family. My hope is that I can be an inspiration to someone else who is also going through tragedy," Gregory said.
Rebekah is still fighting to keep her leg. If you would like to help support Rebekah financially during her medical recovery you can send a check payable to "Rebekah Gregory" and send it to Preferred Corporate Housing 9119 Katy Freeway Houston, TX 77024.