Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor Gives Up on Leg, Not on Life

Rebekah DiMartino is shown in a photo taken June 13, 2014.
Rebekah DiMartino is shown in a photo taken June 13, 2014.

Rebekah DiMartino was a Boston Marathon spectator on April 15, 2013, when one of the two bombs detonated less than 10 feet from where she stood with her 7-year-old son and the man who would become her husband.

Although all three were injured, DiMartino’s injuries were the most severe, requiring 17 surgeries in an effort to save her left leg, which was wounded in several places.

On Monday, she had the leg amputated. Rather than let that loss bring her down, DiMartino decided to say goodbye to the leg with a little humor. On Sunday, DiMartino posted a break-up letter to her leg:

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“Even though my leg is being chopped off and I won’t be able to walk for a while, it’s still a step forward to me,’’ DiMartino said to NBC News.

The surgery was not a last resort. Other treatments were available, but DiMartino opted for the amputation as a way to help put the bombing behind her.

Rebekah DiMartino is pictured at her wedding in April. —AP

Despite the pain she has experienced for nearly 19 months, she has managed to have some pleasure, too. Shortly before the one-year anniversary of the Marathon bombing, DiMartino got married to her now former-boyfriend who was with her when the bombs struck, a dream wedding that came courtesy of the wedding planning website The Knot. A few weeks later, she was honored at a tribute event that took place in part on Boylston Street where the bombs went off.

DiMartino said she found inspiration from the other Marathon victims, who gave her the courage to go ahead with the amputation. She now has her sights set on conquering any physical challenge that involves using her legs.

“I’ve never been a runner, an outdoors person, but now I want to climb mountains, I want to run marathons. I want to do anything and everything that you can do with your legs, because it makes me appreciate them so much more now,’’ she said. “I still have a lot of living left to do.’’

The surgery, which NBC News called a success, was performed at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital near Houston, where DiMartino lives with her son and her husband.

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