In 2013, Rebekah Gregory cheered on her then-husband's mom near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Her cheers turned to screams after two bombs detonated near the marathon's finish, leaving Rebekah fighting for her life.
Following at least 35 leg surgeries, including the amputation of her left leg, Rebekah Gregory returned to Boston this spring -- not as a spectator, but as a race participant.
Speaking to espnW, Gregory shared her experiences from that day two years ago, as well as the details of her long recovery and triumphant return to this year's Boston Marathon.
After attending the 2014 marathon in a wheelchair, Gregory was convinced she would be able to fully run the 2015 event with the help of a prosthetic leg.
In life, you learn to appreciate the little things...like being able to customize your fake leg. ;) pic.twitter.com/yhgRnreWB2 — Rebekah Gregory (@rebekahmgregory) March 24, 2015
She was crushed when doctors told her she couldn't run the full 26.2 miles, but she refused to be defeated.
I had a meeting with my doctor this week and I was really bummed with the news that I got. He basically told me I was not allowed to run the whole marathon like I had originally planned and trained for. He said I wasn't healed enough for that, and I would end up causing more damage if I did it, so I'm only going to run the last 3 ½ miles and then cross the finish line… Then next year I'll try and run the whole marathon.
Despite losing a leg, going through the painful recovery process, traveling to Boston for the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and having her dream of fully competing in the marathon delayed, Rebekah Gregory continues to fight.
It's a very big step forward for me. It's me taking a piece of my life back. Every time I come back to Boston – for the bombing trial, or now the marathon – I'm saying that this has not defeated me. It's made me stronger, and I'll keep getting stronger. There's no stopping me.
Citations: BOMBING SURVIVOR REBEKAH GREGORY READY TO PARTICIPATE IN BOSTON MARATHON (espnW), rebekahbstrong (Instagram), Rebekah Gregory (Twitter), This Emotional Facebook Post Will Get You Ready for the Marathon Finish (Boston.com)