Marcie Stevens is one step closer to reaching her goal of boarding an OC Transpo bus again, nearly 19 months after losing both her legs in the horrific crash at Westboro station.
Doctors have fitted Stevens with a pair of prosthetic limbs, allowing her to stand up for the first time since the collision that changed the course of her life.
"It felt amazing to stand up. I'm looking forward to reaching things on the top shelf instead of having to tell my husband or my kids to go grab it for me. That's one of the pluses of being on legs — it's so much fun to be upright again," Stevens told Ottawa Morning.
The crash occurred on Jan. 11, 2019, when a double-decker bus packed with afternoon commuters heading home to Kanata slammed into a shelter awning on the Transitway.
Three people were killed and at least 23 others injured in the collision including Stevens, who was seated on the upper deck of the bus. The violent impact pushed rows of of seats backward, pinning her and crushing her legs. Doctors later amputated both limbs.
Stevens is taking part in a lawsuit filed by survivors seeking compensation from OC Transpo, the City of Ottawa and bus driver Aissatou Diallo for their pain and suffering.
Acquiring the prosthetics was a major step in Stevens's recovery; the next will be climbing aboard a bus for the first time since the tragedy.
"It will happen," she said. "I want to be able to get on the bus without having to have a wheelchair with me and to be able to actually sit up and stand up without having to do a big huge heave-ho kind of thing."
In January, Stevens told CBC News she was undergoing a vigorous exercise routine and strict diet so she would be at the fitness level doctors required for her to be fitted with prosthetics.
The new limbs allow her to stand again; the next step will be fitting her with bendable knee joints that will give her even greater freedom of movement.
"It means I can get power knees which will help lift and assist me," she said. "Right now I actually have locked legs, so I'm walking like a person on stilts. Power knees means I can sit down and stand up."
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a setback in her rehabilitation, but Stevens is hopeful it's now back on schedule.
Stevens needs to continue to build up her endurance in order to get to the point where doctors can fit her with the power knees.
"Walking as a bi-lateral amputation, you use almost 300 per cent more oxygen when you're walking," she said. "It's basically like you're running a marathon, but you're just walking a few steps."
For now, Stevens is swimming, boxing and of course walking to reach the fitness level she's aiming for.
"We'll just take it one-step at a time," she said.