ABC7 Exclusive: Boston Marathon bombing victim on the mend

August 2, 2013 (HAMMOND, Ind.)

Beth Roche now appreciates life more, including her family, sunsets, birds and even trees.

She takes the advice of an Afghan soldier, who wrote to her saying, "you can either take the high road or the low road, and I know that you will take the high road."

Roche, 59, says her life changed drastically following the Boston Marathon bombing. When the bomb went off it shredded her left leg and knee.

In Boston she was operated on twice and says doctors were able to save her leg. Now she goes to Rush Hospital for rehab three times a week and she is now able to walk again without a brace as well as no crutches.

"They're helping me get stronger," she said. "They're helping me get back to my normalcy, to be a person that I need to be to continue my life and that is important."

Roche now takes small steps in maneuvering around her home, even taking one step at a time climbing the stairway of her two-story home. The marathon bombing victim says she will never forget the love and protection she felt from the first responder that shielded her when the second bomb exploded.

"He's the man who probably saved my leg, too, because I didn't move then. Otherwise, what would I have done," she said. "He protected me. He hovered over me and I can't find him. I wish I would be able to see this man to hug him and say, 'thank you.'"

Roche has felt love from everyone, her husband, daughter and son, and from neighbors, celebrities and strangers around the world. She says her journey has been difficult but it has also made her stronger.

"I don't think you can be afraid, she said. "You let stuff like this end you because if you let that happen, then you're not a winner. It means that that other person won and you don't want them to win."

Roche says the mayor of Boston visited her as well as actor Kevin Spacey and former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Roche says she will always be in touch with the people who came forward to help her during a very difficult time.

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