Marathon survivor Heather Abbott crosses finish line

BOSTON (WPRI) — One year ago, Newport native Heather Abbott made the tough decision to have the lower half of her left leg amputated after she was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings.

On Monday, she crossed the finish line on Boylston Street with her friend Erin Chatham, who found her after the bombs went off.

The horror that occurred at last year’s race is still fresh in Abbott’s mind, but her determination has allowed her to reach milestone after milestone.

“I was struck by shrapnel, and I was catapulted through the front door of the restaurant and found myself on the ground there,” she recalled.

She’s since been fitted with a prosthetic leg and has been working hard to get her life back to normal. One of the biggest things helping her through is the close friendships she’s formed with other bombing victims.

“We’ve been a really good support system for each other, and I don’t know what I would do without them,” said Abbott.

Not to mention the support of hundreds of thousands of people across the country and in her home state of Rhode Island. Despite how far she’s come, Abbott wanted to remind everyone that her journey, and the journey of those who were injured more severely that she was, is far from over.

“A lot of them are still trying to hang on to one of their other legs,” she said. “I think a lot of times when people see us in the media and we are positive and we are moving forward, they may not realize that it’s still hard.”

Abbott said she still gets several calls a day to speak at events across the country about her recovery. This spring, she’ll be busy giving commencement speeches at colleges and universities along the East Coast.

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