How do we move forward?

My road came to an unexpected halt on November 9, 2010.

That morning, I was bicycling to work when a garbage truck turned across a city bike lane. I was in that bike lane.

I was critically injured in the accident. A team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my left leg. I had a long road ahead of me, physically and emotionally, yet I was grateful to be alive.

An ending can be a beginning too. I started over.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Gradually I learned to walk again. So I began counting steps. Then miles.

Over time, that journey turned a corner. It became less about my own recovery and more about resilience -- the connection we all share.

Ten years later, I still take one step at a time. Yes, there are bumps in the road, but each step means rising to new challenges, adapting to change, and moving forward with hope.

Are you on your own journey?

WALK WITH ME.

About Rebecca


Rebecca Levenberg is a teacher, writer, speaker, peer mentor, and adaptive athlete from Philadelphia.

She is also a survivor, learning to live again after a traumatic accident changed her body and her life.

In November 2010, while bicycling to work, Rebecca was struck and run over by a garbage truck as it made a right turn across the bike lane.  The truck crushed her left leg and caused serious internal injuries.  Fortunately, Rebecca was wearing a bike helmet and sustained no head injury.

Rebecca was rescued by paramedics and transported by ambulance to the nearest trauma center, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.  There, trauma surgeons saved her life, but had to amputate her left leg to do so.

She is now a transfemoral (above knee) amputee.

After multiple surgeries, complications, and hospital stays, Rebecca was fitted with a prosthetic leg.  In February 2011, she took her first steps as an amputee. 

That wasn’t the end of the journey.  It was just the beginning. 

Shortly after the accident, Rebecca received a package from her aunt and uncle.  Inside was a necklace inscribed with a quote from Confucius:

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

REBECCA SET A GOAL:  TO WALK 1000 MILES.

She strapped on a pedometer and began documenting – on this blog -- the progress, challenges, and memories contained within each mile.

The journey encompassed much more than walking.  It required both physical therapy and emotional adjustment.  Rebecca relearned many skills including how to live on her own, navigate city sidewalks, skate, bike, and dodge kids in the school hallways!



Rebecca is a graduate of Northwestern University. She received her B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders and M.A. in Learning Disabilities.  She has taught elementary, middle, and high school students in public, private, and charter schools.  She has also conducted early intervention evaluations and coordinated school-wide special education programs.  In August 2011, she returned to teaching on a part-time basis.

Rebecca is a certified amputee peer mentor, visiting new amputees at local hospitals and offering support to them and their families.  Today, as a Peer Mentor Coordinator at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, she helps connect patients and families to those who have been through similar experiences.

Rebecca is part of a large close-knit family, the oldest of 6 siblings and an aunt to many nieces and nephews.  Although spread far and wide, her family is always available whenever she needs them.

As an amputee, Rebecca discovered a passion for rock climbing.  She has competed on the national level and, most recently, climbed on Team USA in the IFSC Paraclimbing World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria.

On Sundays you can find her at the rock gym!

To celebrate Mile 1000, Rebecca built A Thousand Miles Healing Garden at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.  She continues to cultivate the garden and deliver plants to hospital patients.

Rebecca has shared her story at Trauma and EMS conferences, Surgery Grand Rounds, medical school classes, and physical therapy programs.

She presents trauma from a patient and family perspective, relating her experience as a patient, amputee, and individual adjusting to a new normal.   She focuses on resilience -- and the many factors that enabled her not only to survive, but to thrive. 

Sometimes they walk a mile too!
Rebecca also talks with school groups about prosthetics, goal-setting, disabilities, and the importance of wearing bike helmets.


Rebecca’s story is a step-by-step journey from the perspective of someone who is still on her way. 

For a sampling of events, click here.


4 comments:

  1. It was great meeting you at the 5amer Zoom conference call- Hope we will get to meet some time in the near future in person. Best always!
    Connie

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Connie! What a fantastic group! I enjoyed starting my morning with you!!

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  2. This is such a great testimony of hope and perseverance. Great job! -Kim West

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  3. I wondered upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Thanks for sharing. I hope you post again soon.
    Trauma Center

    ReplyDelete