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Associated Press

BOSTON - Mornings are the hardest for Adrianne Haslet because the 32-year-old professional ballroom dancer forgets at first that her left foot is gone.

Beth Roche wakes up knowing she can't feel sorry for herself, that she has to focus on rehabbing her ravaged left leg.

But despite life-changing injuries, both women have vowed that the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and left them among the ranks of more than 260 injured will not define their lives.

Parts of them may be broken, but both patients at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital said in separate interviews Wednesday that their spirits are intact and their thoughts are positive.

"I absolutely want to dance again and I also want to run the marathon next year," Haslet said. "I will crawl across the finish line, literally crawl, if it means I finish it."

Roche, a 59-year-old medical office manager from Highland, Ind., who ran Chicago's marathon last year, said she's concentrating on more than just walking again.

"I want to do another marathon by the time I'm 65," she said.

Doctors across town say they're seeing similar results, though they caution that the wounded have a long path to recovery.

"Overall, people are moving forward every day," said Dr. Ronald E. Hirschberg, a trauma rehabilitation specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital. "I've seen some signs of resilience that are pretty amazing."

Roche said the first bomb at the marathon peeled her leg open "like a sardine can." It happened right after she saw her daughter, Rebecca Roche, a 33-year-old Boston pharmacist, cross the race's finish line.

The blast from the second explosion knocked Haslet off her feet from about 4 feet away. Her husband, although also injured, took off his belt to make a tourniquet for her. Two weeks earlier, the Air Force captain had returned from a four-month deployment in Afghanistan.

Others arrived to help and soon she was in a triage area. "I just kept screaming out, 'I'm a ballroom dancer! I'm a ballroom dancer! Just save my foot.'"

The next day, she woke up at Boston Medical Center and saw her mother. "I told my mom 'My foot feels like it's asleep.' And she said, 'Adrianne, you don't have a foot anymore.'"

Roche says everyone should move forward without fear:"If we're afraid, the enemy wins."

Information from McClatchy Newspapers was used in this report.