Tuesday, November 9, 2010 arrived with a clear early morning that promised to become a chilly, sunny, and typically autumn day. I zipped my coat, buckled my helmet strap, unlocked my bike, and headed off to work. A few minutes later, a garbage truck crossed a bike lane to make a right turn. I was in that bike lane. The tires of the truck crushed my left leg and caused other internal injuries. An amazing team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my leg to do so.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Confucius.

In July 2011, I set off to walk a thousand miles as an above-knee amputee in my new prosthesis. The journey has held more twists, turns, and detours than I ever imagined.

I reached Mile 1000 on March 30, 2013.

But of course, that wasn't the end.

I'll keep walking!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Mile Marker 785:

It is 9:00 a.m. on November 9, 2012.

Exactly 2 years and 2 hours ago -- on a crisp fall morning just like this one -- I pedaled down the bike lane on Washington Avenue.

I wanted to end up here at school.

But I didn't.

That morning at school, there was a phone call from the hospital.  And then in the days and weeks and months that followed, there came prayers and pictures, cards and messages.   So much POSITIVE ENERGY emanated from that elementary school building.  It lit my path to recovery.

Today -- two years later -- it shines even brighter!

500 students crowd together on the gym floor, arms laced around one another, swaying back and forth, singing the school song.  Teachers tuck themselves among their classes.  Parents (including mine!) pack the aisles.  Trustees stand shoulder-to-shoulder along one wall.  I look down into a sea of blue cheering t-shirts.

We are going to WALK.

And unlike 2 years ago, I am here in the middle of it.  To celebrate the community that makes our school a TEAM.

As a group, we file outside through the backdoor of the school building.  Mr. Berman, our awesome gym teacher, leads us with his bright blue Byers Knights sweatshirt.  He maps out the course with our police escort, Officer Todd, and many parent volunteers.

Kindergartner David holds my left hand.  He walks, bounces, and skips along, tugging me from one side to the other.  (New dimensions in physical therapy!)  As we pass the Franklin Institute, I introduce him to my mom.  Right on cue, he asks her, "Do you have a robot leg, too?"

We're up front with a bouquet of green balloons.  But at each intersection, I glance behind us.  Our crowd reaches more than 5 city blocks end to end!

On the Parkway, my mom adopts a group of 1st graders -- or they adopt her.  Jada, in pigtails, chatters on about why it's important to wear a bike helmet.  "You can get a robot leg," she says, "but you can't get a robot brain."  Point well taken.

As we snake closer to the Art Museum, I hear a low rumble from behind.  The 5th and 6th graders suddenly erupt into a stampede -- racing "Rocky-style" up the Art Museum steps!

Does this mean I have to climb them, too?



The answer is YES.

It may be the second anniversary of the accident, but there are many FIRSTS on this part of the journey.

It's the first time I face those Art Museum steps -- up and down -- with my prosthesis.  (Thanks to 7th grader Rebecca, for being an excellent spotter!)

It's the first time I cover not one, but two, miles at a stretch.

And it's the first time I walk with the ENTIRE school community.




It is November 9, 2012.  And I did not complete 1000 miles by the 2-year anniversary of the accident.

But then, in a way I did.

500 students x 2 miles = 1000 miles

TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK -- This is what our bright blue t-shirts say.  And this is what keeps me going.


Thank you Russell Byers Charter School... for walking with me every step of the way!

Click here to watch our walk and hear our school song!

Special thanks to -- 
HSA for organizing the day, 
Randy B. for leading us, 
Chase and Dad for snapping these photos, 
Philly Police Dept for keeping us safe, 
Krista Y-B. for our beautiful school song, 
and everyone who joined in to make this my BIGGEST WALK EVER!

3 comments:

  1. I just adore this post--smiling ear to ear again. What awesome energy you have around you--and I'm sure they get a lot of that energy from your inspiration. I especially love the photo of you and your new little personal trainer and the photo of your Mom and the girls who adopted her. :o)
    How I wish I could have been there in person, but your writing is so wonderful that it feels like I WAS there!
    Rock on my friend!

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  2. WOW what a great mile that must have been!! We miss you and RBCS!!!!

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  3. Awesome video and walk! Honestly, I had tears in my eyes as I watched. Loved the song and the kid pics together. What a fantastic way to mark the two year point. Can't wait to see how you accomplish the rest of your miles. Keep on walking!

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