Ten years after the Boston Marathon bombings, one survivor has become a source of hope for others.
Heather Abbott recently shared her story of resilience with 7NEWS’ Kimberly Bookman.
“I like to think about, when I look back on the last 10 years — What have I done in the last 10 years with the circumstances I was given?” Abbott said.
Abbott refuses to let the loss of her left leg hold her back. Her recovery after being injured in the Boston Marathon Bombings helped her become an expert on prosthetics.
“A lot of the types of legs that I wanted were not covered by insurance because they weren’t considered medically necessary,” Abbott said. “So, things like running legs or a waterproof leg or a cosmetic high heel leg — and those were things I really needed to get my life back as close to the way it was before I was injured as possible.”
Abbott now helps those who face the same challenges she did.
Abbott has formed a foundation and raised $2 million, helping more than 100 amputees live full lives with prosthetics.
“We’ve had kids who have been given running legs who have gone on to play high school sports,” she said.
Abbott travels to hospitals across the country, where she counsels patients who have lost arms and legs.
“The reason I decided to do that is because I had people do it for me,” she said. “It was mostly veterans that came to the hospital when I was in the hospital who had lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan, and being able to see them was into my hospital room and ask them all the questions I had about prosthetic legs and what it was like to live as an amputee was invaluable to me.”
Abbott admits getting to this point wasn’t easy.
She said she remembers how difficult it was getting used to her first prosthetic leg.
“It was really painful and it was really hard to walk on — much harder than I imagined,” she said.
But Abbott pushed through that pain and made it her mission to be strong enough to walk and run.
She crossed the Boston Marathon finish line a year after the bombings and has gone back to attend the race every year since.
Abbott has learned how to live with her trauma.
“It starts with recognizing what you can’t change and trying to look forward instead of looking behind,” she said.
Not one to dwell on the past, Abbott said she is marking the 10 year anniversary of the bombings by continuing to forge ahead.
“I hope I’ll be wearing heels way into my 80’s because it’s something I really enjoy doing,” she said.
“I do have a different life and it’s not one that I’m disappointed with,” she continued. “It’s just the one I was given so, I’ve done the best with it that I could.”
Specialty prosthetics can range from $15,000 to $100,000, making them too expensive for many who need them.
Those interested in making a donation to the Heather Abbott Foundation can learn more here.
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