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!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Walk It Out 2015

Mile Marker 3300:

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
-- Christopher Reeve

The gym is full of heroes.

There's Ernie on the LT machine next to me.

Charmaine and Jeff on the treadmill behind me.

And Mark, ready to save the day when I sweat out of my prosthetic socket!

Magee therapists surround us, working patients' legs, stretching their bodies, and spotting them when they walk.  They're heroes as well, doing what they do best -- helping us find a way back to the life that was ours.

Magee Rehabilitation is one of the only hospitals in the area that offers Locomotor Training (LT), a specialized, labor-intensive therapy that helps people with brain and spinal cord injuries learn to walk again.  Just one LT session requires at least 4 therapists, a computer, a specially-designed treadmill, and an anchored harness system.

But LT is much more than equipment and staff.  It takes coordination.  Strength.  Discipline.  Endurance.  Trust.  The therapists use their own muscles to move and train the muscles of their patients.

It's like they've got superpowers!

WALK IT OUT supports the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and the NeuroRecovery Network, which supplies vital funding and resources for Magee's LT Program.   It's powered by the belief that we can WALK TO VICTORY over paralysis.

We all have a hero inside us!
What Superman taught us about heroes makes it all possible.

I have never seen a therapy so powerful or effective.

In the 3 years I've participated in Walk It Out, I've watched my friends go from hanging in their harness, virtually unweighted, to walking on the treadmill completely on their own!

Last year...

This year!!!

As for me, I spend the day treadmill-hopping.  For this 24-Hour Step-A-Thon, the treadmills must move at all times.  So I do my part to keep them going!

Miles rack up quickly.  There's so much to see.  Heroics wherever I look.

And fun too!

I rock out with PT Mary, like we're on stage high above the crowd.

PT Kristen shows up along with her entire bridal party -- on her wedding day!  Now that's dedication!

Mid-afternoon, Ian and I buddy up for a mile or two.

And friends Donna and Jenn stop by to celebrate the homestretch!

We all keep walking as the hours go by.  At 4:00, my Fitbit reads 8.80 miles, and I realize I'm making some progress of my own.

If I keep going, could I really walk 10 MILES in one day?!

The Walk It Out clock ticks down to its final hour.  I climb onto my 3rd treadmill, and PT Liz comes over to set the speed.

"You know we only have till 5:00, right?" she jokes.

(As if I could walk more!)

My right foot is aching.  My socket is soupy with sweat.

"Boost it up,"  I say.

Then I start walking again.

This event -- more than any other -- reminds me what a PRIVILEGE it is to put one foot in front of the other.  I keep walking until the very last second.


Thank you Superman.  Thank you Magee.

And thanks to all our heroes who never stop believing in this long WALK TO VICTORY.

To support this life-changing program (and get your "5 Years Strong" t-shirt!), please click here

Thank you so much!


  1. Awesome post Rebecca. It was a pleasure walking it out with you. Thanks for capturing Jeff's progress from last year to this so well.

  2. Unless challenged, people have no idea how hard walking really is. Thanks for the reminder to those not dealing that walking is a Priviledge.