Months after she was nearly killed in a tour boat explosion in the Bahamas, a Vermont woman came to Boston to take a significant step on her road to recovery.
Stefanie Schaffer, 22, lost both her legs in the accident while she was on vacation with her family. After spending months in and out of the hospital, she returned to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston to begin the process of learning to walk again.
"The dream is to not need anything at all, and to just be able to get up and walk," said Schaffer.
That has been her focus all week, testing out a variety of prosthetics to determine what fits her best.
"I have to just focus on the very next thing that needs to happen," she said. "It was a completely different life before."
Before the explosion, Schaffer was a college student in Vermont. She had grown up playing sports. Since the explosion, which killed one and injured nine in total, she has been slowly recovering from the injuries not only to her legs, but also to her head and spinal cord.
"To see your daughter not be able to walk is hard. To see her in a wheelchair, it's painful," said Schaffer's mother, Stacey Bender.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
But recently, she made big strides when she took her first steps with a walker. Now, she is planning to take her first steps alone and hopefully return to school. Given her injuries and initial prognosis, Schaffer is confident she will be able to do it.
"I set all these goals for myself. I'm like, 'OK, what can we do now?'" she said. "I am really excited."