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Boston Marathon 2013
April 15th, 2013. The gun was shot indicating that the race would begin and everyone started running. I could feel it in the back of my mind, something telling me that this good day would soon take a turn. But this feeling quickly faded once I heard the cheers from the crowd erupt immediately and it spread a smile across my face. Everything was going smoothly until about 15 miles into the race when I started to feel pain in my right leg. I was terrified because there was still 11 miles left of the race and my biggest worry now was how I was going to finish the race if my leg started to feel any worse than it already was. I had been running marathons for 15 years now and I had never felt this bad of pain in my life. I tried to ignore the searing pain as it spread through my leg and I kept going on breathing heavily now.
There were crowds of people all throughout the entire race and there was constantly a rush of people going every which way. As I ran, I could hear people screaming and cheering for the runners, people complaining about how crowded it was and lots of kids whining about the terrible heat that made you feel like you were going to melt just by standing outside. Although t hey had stands with water that you could grab from as you went by, my throat was so dry that I struggled to breath.
At the beginning of the race it felt very crowded having 23,000 people all running at once but now, well into the race, everyone was quite spread out. My best friend Megan was also running in the race but she was far ahead of me. Megan was an outstanding runner who trained day in and day out every single day,because she was very dedicated to doing well in this race. Although I also trained a lot and wanted to do very well, I could not even compare myself to how hard Megan had worked. I wanted her to do well in this race more than anyone else because I knew it would mean the world to her.
I had run this race two times already in my life, but now I had a family there on the sidelines to cheer me on including my husband Liam, my 11 month old daughter Gabby, and my dog who I’ve had since I was a little girl named Charlie. It felt nice to know that they were waiting for me at the finish line and it encouraged me to keep on going even though at times I felt like I wouldn’t make it to the end. There were only about two more miles left of the race when the pain in my leg started to get really bad again but I knew that I couldn’t quit now so I kept on moving even though my leg felt like it would give out at any second.
The finish line had finally started to come into view and I was pushing myself to run as fast as I could to the very end. I tumbled over the finish line falling to the ground right on the other side because the pain I felt now was unbearable. I could hear Liam yelling out to me asking if I was okay and I reassured him I was because I did not want him to worry about me. Liam told me he was going to go get the car so that I wouldn’t have to walk far and get all caught up in the crazy traffic then him, Gabby, and Charlie all disappeared into the crowd. The medics assumed that I had just fallen because I was so exhausted, so I was left lying on the hot pavement.
Boylston Street, 2:50pm. I could not fully comprehend what was happening until I saw a sight that I will never be able to forget. A man with dark, curly hair and a mustache had thrown a large, black backpack onto the ground near me and sprinted away. I immediately knew something was wrong so I tried to get up and run to get as far away from the backpack as possible but my leg hurt so bad that I was unable to move. I screamed for help but everyone around me was too busy worrying about getting away that they didn’t notice me. All I could think about was how I was going to get away before whatever was in the backpack hurt me. My time was running out and I knew I had to do something quick. My heart was pounding so fast I thought it was going to pop right out of my chest. Then, everything happened all at once.
A bomb from inside the bag had exploded and I could feel the effects immediately. My sore leg was gone. A paramedic was right by me and he was yelling at me asking if I could hear him, asking if I could talk and many other things but I was frozen stiff, unable to move a muscle or speak a single word. All I could think about was my family and if they were okay, everything else felt so unreal and I couldn’t believe that this was now my reality. I finally was able to speak and I begged the paramedic for help. He immediately put me onto a stretcher and pushed me into an ambulance. The sound of the sirens immediately filled my ears as I was still unable to move.
It felt like it had taken hours to get to the hospital. But as soon as we arrived, the paramedics hauled me out of the ambulance and pushed me into a room where doctors and nurses immediately began treating my wounds. When I had finally felt conscious enough to wake up, it was already the next day. My husband immediately rushed to my side when he saw my eyes open and started asking me how I was feeling. I told him the truth, that I could not feel anything and his eyes immediately started to tear up and then he started pacing around the room.
When nurse Amelia came in, Liam asked her how I was before she was even able to make it all the way into the room. She told him that after my left leg had come off, it made my other leg temporarily paralyzed but aside from that I would not suffer any other serious injuries and I would be able to leave the next day. Amelia then continued on and began to hook me up to many machines, then she gave me a certain medicine that made me fall asleep and all the pain stopped.
A week had gone by, I was sent home and the nurse assured me that they would email me my results on how bad of shape I was in within two weeks. I had been eager to know all week, checking my emails constantly wanting to know if I would ever be able to run, or even walk, ever again. I was becoming very impatient and now, not being able to run or walk, I could do anything to pass time but sit and wait. I watched countless hours of tv within the two weeks that I waited until the day finally came. Today was the day that I would receive the email.
At exactly 3:14 pm I received the email. My hands were shaking as I clicked on it and read it to myself. The email read, “ Dear Savannah, I am very sorry to inform you that you will most likely not be able to run again. You will be able to walk however, after weeks of physical therapy. The doctors did not want me to tell you, but there is a chance that you will be able to run again. It will take lots and lots of hard work but I personally think you could do it. Don’t ever give up even when things feel impossible because you are a very strong person and you can do anything that you set your mind to. Best wishes, Nurse Amelia Morris.” I was beyond relieved and this was truly a miracle.
I immediately called Megan and told her the wonderful news, that I would be able to walk and possibly even run again if I worked really hard at it. She assured me that she would be there with me every step of the way and she would help me get back into running, starting the next week. The nurse said I would be able to start physical therapy after one more week of rest so I spent that week researching everything about what I would have to do to achieve my goal of being able to run again.
As Megan drove me to the physical therapy building she assured me that if I had the right mindset I would be able to get right back on track to where I was before the incident happened. Once we arrived, Megan signed me in and we walked back into the physical therapy room. Megan immediately started helping me with all these small exercises I could do to help me be able to walk. At first, the prosthetic leg that they put on in place of my left leg felt very strange but after a few weeks of therapy, it became my new normal.
8 months later I was able to walk again and the nurses said I would not need to go to therapy anymore so instead Megan took me to the track every day. We worked first at walking long distances and then at being able to walk faster. I practiced this over and over again for about 9 months until I was able to run again. Obviously I wasn’t running as fast as I could before but it was definitely improvement and it made me feel so great knowing that I had achieved my goal. My story was told all over including newspapers all around the world and all over the news.
I eventually got to the point where I could run normally and I began running in races and marathons again. I received thousands of tweets and emails everyday from lots of young people I have inspired just by never giving up on what I wanted. I want to be an inspiration to my daughter to let her know to never give up because I never did.