Survivor who lost both legs in Westboro bus crash walks in Ottawa Race Weekend
OTTAWA -- Just over two years after losing both legs in the Westboro bus crash, Marcie Stevens took the next steps in her recovery process by participating in Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.
The Ottawa woman walked two kilometres on her prosthetic legs on Sunday as part of the virtual race weekend this month.
In a video posted on Twitter titled, "Part rocking. Part rolling," Stevens was asked how she felt after walking two kilometres.
"Shaking," said Stevens smiling. "Accomplished. Finished."
Stevens received a medal after crossing the finish line along the Trans Canada Trail. She was raising money for the Ottawa Hospital's Emergency Department and Rehabilitation Centre.
In an interview on Newstalk 580 CFRA last week, Stevens described walking with her prosthetic legs as, "walking on stilts."
"You're basically walking straight leg, so you're waddling like a penguin. It's trying, as a bilateral amputee above the knees when you walk with prosthetic legs you are using 300 per cent more oxygen," said Stevens. "So it's basically like running a marathon just walking."
Speaking with CTV News Ottawa on Monday. Stevens said the walk was a challenge, between the weather and the gravel.
"It was hot, tiring and insanely satisfying," says Stevens. "Walking on that gravel that fine gravel my legs would slip and slide ... There’s some bruising some blistering but other that the skin held up pretty well I kind of listened to my body and if it was telling me it was going to be painful I would sit down and give myself a little bit of a break."
Earlier this month, Stevens shared a photo on Twitter of her new gym, calling it "my iron hell." Barrhaven Ford delivered a $1,000 Sport Chek gift card to Stevens to purchase new equipment for her gym. Canadian Tire matched the $1,000 gift card for Stevens.
"I do three training sessions a week with my trainer, three hours a week in total. When she's not on I complain a lot, and I do cardo after that just to ensure that I can build up my cardio," said Stevens.
"Now I'm probably not going to walk the full two kilometres, but I will do stints of walking, and then rolling in my wheelchair and then walking again."
Stevens tagged American actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the post, to which he replied, "IronHell sounds and looks like paradise to me! Time to get after it Marcie!"
“I never thought it was going to be somebody to respond back to a tweet,” says Stevens. “I go down there [the gym] and I complain all through the whole workout and my trainer will tell you that I complain a lot. I get it done, but it is hell. You come out of there and you’re tired and you’re exhausted but you feel good after that.”
Stevens lost both legs in the bus crash at the Westboro transit station in January 2019. One year after the crash, Stevens told CTV News Ottawa her goal was "just to walk."
CFRA host Andrew Pinsent asked Stevens about her motivation for walking two for Ottawa Race Weekend.
"It's just really to prove to my kids that even though life sometimes throws you down and kicks you, you can pick yourself up and do things that you want to do with your life and had hoped to do all along," said Stevens.
Stevens says it's been an "upwards hill" learning to walk with prosthetic legs.
"When you're a bilateral above the knee amputee you start out with shortened prosthetics, which are basically you are only two inches off the ground when you're trying to re-learn how to walk. Then they grow you as you go," said Stevens. "Still not finished getting the final prosthesis, the final prosthesis would be the microprocessor knees."
Stevens says the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the process to be fitted for microprocessor knees, which are a bendable knee prosthetic to help with movement.
WIth the race now complete, Stevens says her next step will be to accomplish another long-time goal, to get back on an OC Transpo bus.
The trial of driver of the bus that crashed at Westboro station is currently before the court. Stevens cannot comment, but did say that when it ends, there will be some closure. She says her focus has always been on rehabilitation.
Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is being held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Participants are invited to complete their race by May 31.
To support Stevens walk and the Ottawa Hospital, you can donate at https://raceroster.com/events/2021/34303/tamarack-ottawa-virtual-race-weekend-2021/pledge/participant/11216191?fbclid=IwAR1G-ffdWOqYc1Oa2-5XQFc-rG3aYRxoWJRtkQsOfl6qbf_ttgw-UeywqyU
"I’m grateful I’m thankful for the people who have supported me I’m thankful for the people who have donated," says Stevens, who has raised more than $3600. "Helping the Ottawa Hospital is something that we can do as a community to help increase awareness and to help make this hospital better than it can be, and provide it with cutting-edge technology to help people regain their life."