Bombing survivor faces reality, maintains hope

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) – This summer has been full of firsts for Heather Abbott, the Newport woman who lost part of her leg in the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15.

The Newport resident was just 38-years-old when she lost part of her left leg and was forced to face the harsh reality of learning to walk with a prosthetic.

Reality hit hard for Heather as she was learning how to use the painful, clumsy new leg.

“I got it and I was devastated. It was very painful to put on difficult to walk in. It’s ugly and it was really, it really made me realize this is not going away,” she said.

Heather is now working on eliminating her limp and climbing stairs, though she fears she will have no idea how to manage ice, snow, or another emergency.

“What if I’m in a situation where i need to run away,” she said. “And am I going to be able to do that? So, I think of a lot of the physical challenges.”

In her first public appearance after the tragic bombings and her amputation, Heather told the world she hadn’t had any moment of devastation. Just three months later – things have changed for the Newport native.

“I have had many moments of devastation since then but I have never felt hopeless,” she said. “I had left for the marathon that day assuming I would be home at night and I left short beach dresses on my bed.”

The dresses were proven to be a reality check. Heather has been wearing pants for the most part since her amputation as she waited for her permanent prosthetic legs and silicone covers. She will need multiple covers and legs for heels, athletic shoes, and flat shoes every few years.

The One Fund assisted Heather in recovery and medical costs but it is not clear if the assistance will cover the mounting costs that will develop over time.

Through it all, Heather’s spirit remains intact and she is constantly in contact with the other bombing victims – who face many more challenges.

“You know my left leg was affected not my right leg. So I can still drive. My leg was amputated below the knee, which is from what I understand easier to deal with,” she said.

Heather is counting her blessings for what could have been much worse and is holding on to the things she loves, like Newport’s first beach.

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