Mother using tragedy at Boston Marathon to help kids with trauma

Website helps provide financial help for kids with PTSD

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

HOUSTON - Rebekah Gregory and her husband, Chris, read to their daughter Ryleigh while sitting on the couch at their home in Fulshear.

Rebekah Gregory was seriously injured five years ago when two bombs went off at the finish line of the world-famous Boston Marathon.

The explosions also injured her then 5-year-old son, Noah. Gregory said her legs shielded Noah from the blast. While she had the more serious physical injuries, Noah had the emotional wounds.

"Noah has really done well with this," Gregory told KPRC2. "And he's so resilient.  He's seen me overcome so much.  And he's overcome so much himself."

In Noah’s honor, Gregory created www.rebekahsangels.org. It provides financial help to children with PTSD due to trauma. It pairs kids with selected, screened and approved therapists.

“If children get treatment for their trauma and everything early on in life and early on before adulthood, they're going to be so much more successful as adults," Gregory said.

On April 20, the two-year anniversary of the bombing, with her new prosthetic leg, Gregory ran through rain, tears and sweat, passing the spot where terrorists planted bombs that nearly took her life at the finish line.

For her, it was a three-mile run and the day she said she took back her life.

Last year, she released her book called “Taking My Life Back.”  It was just released in paperback. 

"My reflections on the last five years is every day I'm just thankful that I still have the ability to get up out of bed," Gregory said. "That means, for me, to either reach for a wheelchair or put a prosthetic leg on.

But every day that I still have that ability I want to make a difference in other peoples' lives in the way that they've made a difference in mine."

Each morning, Gregory said Ryleigh delivers her prosthetic leg.  

After nearly 70 surgeries, Gregory walks but looks forward to running again.  That’s exactly what she did that cold, wet day in Boston in 2015 when she took back her life.

"I was not a runner," Gregory said. "I wish I could run now. I've had some hurdles in that department and I'm still ready to run and ready to do everything on my fake leg that I didn't do on two real legs.  That's how we spend our life now. And we're just grateful to be here."

"The bombing changed her, but does not define her," Gregory continued. "My message is mainly hope. Everyone has things that they go through in life.  The majority of people are not going to get blown up by a bomb in a marathon.  But everyone has life blow up in their face."

After the explosions at the finish line of the marathon, Gregory said doctors told her she would not be able to have another child. But she did. Ryleigh will soon turn 2.

"You can wake up every day and you can either focus on your problems or you can focus on all that you've been blessed with," Gregory said.

You can follow Gregory’s progress on Facebook @RebekakMGregoryPage, on Twitter @RebekahMGregory and on Instagram @RebekahMGregory

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