On the 10th anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, one survivor is returning to the course to do something she swore she never would.
Michele Blackburn will run the marathon for the very first time.
"I really can't believe where we are today," she said. "I remember laying in my hospital bed, kind of wondering, 'What is life going to be like one year from now, five years from now, 10 year from now.' I don't think I could have imagined that I would be here."
Get New England news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NECN newsletters.
For Blackburn, life isn't about what you can't do; it's about what you can do.
The mother of two from Uxbridge, Massachusetts, explained she spent the last decade learning how to put one foot in front of the other during what become a physical and emotional healing journey.
"I think I've done a good job of rising above the hate that was filled with that day, and just focusing on the good. I think it made me appreciate my life a lot more," she said.
In 2013, Blackburn was at the finish line cheering on her friend when a bomb went off two feet away.
Her left leg was nearly amputated.
"The woman's husband who was holding my hand, he was a retired Army Special Forces, and he was the first one who first really noticed that I was in danger. I had a large gash on the inside of my knee that I was bleeding out of, in addition to my lower leg injuries," she explained. "I had a resident kneel by my side and say, 'We are most likely going to have to amputate at least your foot.' And the only thing I could think of at that time was 'What's a foot?' I had already seen so much laying on the ground. People that lost both legs, one leg, foot, and it just didn't seem important."
There have been setbacks throughout her healing journey.
Last year, Blackburn was diagnosed with lymphedema and sought treatment at Milford Regional Medical Center.
"It's just been amazing to watch -- just to see Michele run is crazy," said Joni Brown, director of rehab and sports medicine at Milford Regional Medical Center.
According to Brown, Blackburn's therapist was able to teach her how to reduce the swelling in her legs through several procedures.
"With this type of therapy, really the crux of it is to teach the patients and to give them the tools to do what they need to do in order to manage their lymphedema and to empower them," Brown explained.
Now, Blackburn will move with her feet, but run from the heart, as she proves to her family, friends and herself that sometimes the finish line is just the beginning.
"I think it's going to be really emotional, but I think it's just going to be another step in the healing journey, which I think we're all on for different reasons," she said. "I think that we're all just chasing that feeling of feeling proud of ourselves and feeling healed. And I'm just hoping that this will give me some of that."
"She's such an inspiration for all of us," said Brown.
Blackburn is running to raise money for Milford Regional Medical Center. Anyone who would like to make a donation in support of her can do so here.