No. of times spectating the Boston Marathon: 1
Where was she during the bombings: Gregory and her five-year-old son, Noah, flew from Texas to New York to spend her birthday weekend with her long-distance boyfriend, Pete DiMartino. That Monday they all headed to Boston to watch DiMartino's 51-year-old mom complete her second marathon. After a brief stop to see her at mile 17, they made their way to the finish line, about 10 feet from the first horrific blast in front of the Marathon Sports store.
“Noah was so bored,” Gregory says. “I told him to play with the rocks by my feet, and that's what he was doing when the first bomb went off." She remembers getting thrown back on top of him. “They say my body shielded him and saved his life. As his mom, I would have absolutely protected him in a heartbeat, but at that moment, I had no idea what was going on—it happened so fast,” she says.
In the process, she took a massive beating, especially her legs, which were torn apart from the knee down. “I never lost consciousness, but I couldn't move and could barely breath from all the smoke. All I could do was look around for Noah. When I found him behind me, I reached out for him and saw all the bones sticking out of my left hand and blood dripping. It was at that moment that I really thought I was going to die.” She mouthed “I love you” DiMartino, who was lying next to her with shrapnel wounds, second-degree burns, and 90 percent of his right Achilles tendon blown off.
When a first responder showed up minutes later, he was honest with her and said, “This is really, really bad, but we're going to take care of you.” Gregory spent the next seven days in a coma at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the same hospital that would treat the surviving bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. “I always had to wheel past his room for my surgeries. It was crazy,” says Gregory, who received 11 operations over the course of 39 days while in Boston.
Where she is a year later: After a total of 16 surgeries to date, Gregory has still not been able to return to work as an account executive at a corporate housing firm and may need to go under the knife a few more times, including a possible amputation of her left leg, which hasn't improved. “I firmly believe my leg is just a leg. It's not my life. If I have to get a prosthetic, it's not the end of the world for me,” she says. But it will all have to wait until after the honeymoon. Though still recovering himself, DiMartino proposed in October 2013. When theKnot found out about their engagement, the company offered to pay for the couple’s dream wedding. “We were very humbled and so appreciative,” she says. The couple said “I do” on April 4 and will honeymoon in Thailand in June, also thanks to TheKnot.