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Updated: 12:47 p.m. Saturday, May 11, 2013 | Posted: 4:03 p.m. Friday, May 10, 2013
By Blair Miller
BOSTON, Mass. —
A Charlotte woman who was badly injured in the Boston Marathon bombings is motivated and determined to get home.
Nicole Gross invited only Eyewitness News to be there as she was released from a Boston hospital, and she spoke about the driving force behind her recovery.
Gross has been at a hospital in Boston since she was seriously injured in the bombings 25 days ago.
Friday, she left the hospital and began her recovery and road back home to Charlotte.
CLICK HERE to find out ways to help the Gross family.
A haunting picture of her immediately after the bombings was seen around the world. Today, she's able to laugh and smile in her hospital room in Boston.
As Eyewitness News anchor Blair Miller sat down with Gross and her husband, Michael, he found she's determined to be strong and move forward.
“I feel the mixed emotions of sadness and confusion, still,” Gross said.
Her injuries from the bombings were severe. She's been through several surgeries to fix both of her broken legs and to remove the countless pieces of shrapnel in her body.
“How do you handle that mentally?” Miller asked.
“Talking with a therapist, for sure, has helped. I was meeting with someone soon after just to talk through it,” Gross said.
She was at the marathon to watch her mom run the race, after she trained her. It's still very hard for her to talk about details of that day.
“It was just a day of positivity and well wishes for her, and unfortunately, it had a traumatic ending to it,” Gross said.
She showed Eyewitness News how, since that dark day, physical therapy has been vital to helping her use her legs again and finally stand. Just 15 minutes is very exhausting.
Dr. Eric Halvorson helped several victims of the bombing, including Gross.
“She's away from home, and that's tough,” he said. “Obviously, she's going to be affected for the rest of her life by this, but in the grand scheme of things, I do think she's lucky.”
In Charlotte, Gross is a fitness trainer, triathlete and has even helped train people with physical disabilities, which she believes motivated her recovery.
READ how the Gross family reacted to outpouring of support from Charlotte community.
“Are you a different person?” Miller asked.
“I am. I'm a much better person,” Gross said. “It's taught me a lot about myself.”
After 27 days, Friday was the one she's been waiting for, as she was released from the hospital and headed to a rehab facility in Boston.
“This isn't going to affect me. It's not going to weigh me down,” Gross said.
She said it's tough for her to look at the picture that was taken right after the bombings, but important she does.
“It says everything about the situation,” she said. “You know, be a face to the tragedy, but also be something of hope.”
Miller’s conversation with Gross left him in awe of her strength and determination. After the interview, she gave him a “Be Strong” wristband to remember what she had to say.
Gross will likely spend the next few weeks in rehab, and then she will come back to Charlotte.
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