Mery Daniel was in the right place at the wrong time.
On a beautiful day that should have been marked by victorious emotions, shouts of joy, and celebratory hugs from those
who came to participate and those who came to watch the Boston Marathon, Mery, like so many others, came to learn time is a precious gift.
The bombing spared her life, but the blast ripped apart her legs, shearing off her right calf and forcing doctors to amputate her left leg above the knee.
In a Boston Globe article, Erik Moskowitz told of Mery’s childhood dream of becoming the first physician in her family. She was 17 when she moved from Haiti to Brockton with her father whom she had not seen since childhood. She was a stand out student and role model to others. Later she went on to attend medical school, marry and have a daughter. She was preparing for her final medical licensing exams when she attended the Boston Marathon that fateful May morning. And, in one brief moment, her life as knew it would never be the same.
The next six weeks were spent in surgeries and hospitals. She was only able to see her terrified five-year-old daughter three times. Her life journey had taken a sharp turn. Extraordinary challenges faced her ahead.
Bills were mounting. She needed to learn a new way of getting around, and needed to find a new place to call home that was accessible for her new lifestyle. There were times when she forgot she was minus a leg except for the fact that her phantom pains were almost constant.
Mery craved mobility. She desperately wanted her life back. She was determined. People around her had equal resilience. She learned to get around with a prosthetic and hand-cycle. Bonnie St. John, an African-American amputee and paralympic skiing medalist helped created a fund raising site to help ease some of the burden. The day after Mery’s first steps, children who rode the school bus her father drove participated in a walkathon to raise $8,275 for her.
Mery’s next goal? To enter an athletic race. It had been on her To Do list for a very long time but just was something she hadn’t gotten to yet. That needed to change.
And change it did. Mery recently completed her fourth race riding her hand-cycle, the longest being a 27-mile ride to help veterans…longer than the Boston Marathon.