Weeks after the bike accident that cost her left leg, Rebecca Levenberg's aunt and uncle gave her a necklace with the famous Confucian quote: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Yesterday, Rebecca walked her 1,000th mile—but it's far from the final step on her journey.
A group of Rebecca's friends and relatives—led by Deb Davis, PTA, on her motorcycle—arrived on bicycles in Rittenhouse Square shortly before noon Saturday. They completed a short ride from 5th and Washington—the site of Rebecca's accident—to complete her 1,000th mile since obtaining her prosthesis.
"In two years, I've seen her confidence and perseverance grow, and enjoyed watching her regain the skills she needs to return to the activities she loves, such as biking and roller blading," says Davis, who works at Magee Rehabilitation with patients recovering after amputations.
Rebecca's story, originally told by Sports Doc panelist Julie Cote, begins with Rebecca riding her bike to work and being struck by a garbage truck. She survived, but the damage included the loss of her left leg above the knee.
During her recovery, she received the aforementioned necklace and was inspired to walk 1,000 miles in her new prosthesis. She started in mid-2011 and hasn't looked back. Saturday marked Rebecca's greatest milestone in her recovery to date.
"My therapists have meant everything to me," says Rebecca. "They taught me to get up off the floor, taught me to walk again, then re-taught me to bike and skate. Those activities mean everything to me."
To bring her journey full-circle, Rebecca chose to bike the 1,000th mile yesterday. Her event was attended by the Bike Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, a group that works to create a safer atmosphere for bicyclists around the area.
Aside from Davis, who treated Rebecca extensively throughout her recovery—Ms. Levenberg was joined by a group including her younger brothers Mark and Joe, her sister-in-law Amy (married to Joe) and Shelley Scott, a college friend from Chicago. Her parents, David and Patty met the group at the conclusion of the ride along with Colleen Sullivan, PT, DPT.
"When I first met Rebecca, she was nervous," admits Sullivan. "But she was always aggressive in her approach to therapy. So I'm not surprised to see her here today having accomplished the 1,000 miles."
So with the 1,000-mile goal reached, and her life back on track, you'd figure Rebecca would take a short break to appreciate what she's accomplished and what's ahead. Instead, she left Rittenhouse Square to immediately embark on mile 1,001. Next Saturday, she'll celebrate reaching her goal—with a roller-skating party in Cherry Hill.
"What's my next step?" she asked. "Keep walking, and riding, and skating…"