Local amputee sets goal to walk 1,000 miles

PHILADELPHIA - November 9, 2011

One year ago, Rebecca Levenberg experienced both the most traumatic time of her life and the beginning of a promising new one.

Rebecca Levenberg's recovery began at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital on November 9, 2010.

"I was bleeding a lot," said Rebecca. "I was on the ground, couldn't move and was in a lot of pain."

Rebecca had been biking to work from her home in South Philadelphia.

A garbage truck struck her at the intersection of 5th and Washington, crushing her leg.

"I had a number of broken ribs, and I think I had a collapsed lung," Rebecca said.

She also had severe abdominal injuries and was rushed to Thomas Jefferson's emergency room.

"It changed everything," said Rebecca, "It's changed everything about my life."

Rebecca's leg had to be amputated, and after months of surgeries, she needed a long-term goal. She thought of the inscription on the necklace her family gave her in the hospital.

"It says 'The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,'" Rebecca said.

Rebecca decided she would walk 1,000 miles by the second anniversary of her accident. Wednesday, she made it to 160 miles.

Her trauma team joined her for an 8-block walk around Jefferson Hospital to mark where her journey of recovery began a year ago.

"She still needs support, but everyday, she's improving," said David Levenberg, Rebecca's dad.

"She said to me on the day she came in, 'Mom, be strong,' and she's a great example of that."

Dr. Niels Martin was in the emergency room when she was brought in.

"This unfortunate incident could not have happened to a better person, she's really embraced this," said Dr. Martin. "Her enthusiasm, I'm sure, is helping many others like her."

She plans to continue walking.

"I don't know where I'll be walking or how fast, but my goal is to finish 1,000 miles next year on this day," Rebecca said.

Follow Rebecca's progress on her blog at www.my-1000-miles.blogspot.com www.my-1000-miles.blogspot.com

Rebecca handed out bracelets to remind everyone that "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."

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