BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - On Friday, nurses from across the state gathered for the 104th Convention of Mississippi Nurses Association. Also in attendance was special guest, Rebekah Gregory, who shared her story of survival from the Boston Marathon Bombing.
Gregory said the memories of April 15, 2013 are still fresh in her head.
"It's crazy and I still just get so overwhelmed," she describes as she rubbed the chills on her arms.
Gregory wasn't at the Boston Marathon to run, but was with her son to cheer on a friend who was. Little did she know, that day would change her life.
"I was three feet from something that could've destroyed me," she said.
But after months of devastation, surgeries and deciding to get her leg amputated, Gregory is standing stronger than ever to tell her story.
"When life literally blows up in your face and you're wondering how in the words can you survive, it is so important to have that network of people pushing you when you don't feel like getting out of bed," she said.
Besides her family, those people rooting for Gregory were like the ones sitting in the audience listening - nurses, the men and women who give up their lives to help save someone else's.
"You are that patient's lifeline. When I was laying in that hospital bed, I couldn't depend on myself," Gregory said.
But Gregory could depend on her nurses who helped her survive and find a new meaning of life. And to hear her touching story and encouraging words reminded the nursing students why they've chosen this career path.
"That's the reason I chose this profession. I want to help people. I don't want to just be the next nurse going in to see my patient. I want to see the person. I want to see Rebekah," nursing student Jacquelyne Davis said.
"I want to have that impact on someone's life. I want to be that nurse that that patient is going to say, 'you know, she helped me and not just in getting better. I feel better about myself and I can do this'. That's the kind of nurse I want to be," nursing student Alaina Harper said.
Gregory says her biggest accomplishment since the tragic bombing is going back to Boston, not to be on the sideline again, but to run. She didn't run the full race, instead she ran the 3.2 miles of the marathon. She says each mile represented every month it took her to learn to walk again.