MONTREAL – Two years ago, Kathy Wilchek went through an indescribable nightmare, contracting flesh-eating disease that took both her legs.
The simple act of walking was taken away, and she thought she would never get back on her feet.
“Doctors were saying she wouldn’t walk again,” said Frank Pandolfini, Wilchek’s boyfriend.
“Rehab told her most people get discouraged and they stay in their wheelchair.”
After losing her legs, Wilchek was fitted with prosthetic limbs, but walking was an exhausting challenge.
“She would walk maybe five, 10 minutes and then she’d be in pain,” said Pandolfini.
But the couple refused to give up and scoured the Internet to find alternatives.
WATCH: Zumbathon for Kathy Wilchek
They found Munjed Al Muderis, a doctor in Australia who offered a new surgery that promised remarkable results.
They raised $100,000 to make the journey to Sydney, Australia, and within days, Wilcheck was walking.
Kathy Wilcheck walks on prosthetic limbs after losing her legs to flesh-eating disease, Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Global News
Kathy Wilcheck walks on prosthetic limbs after losing her legs to flesh-eating disease, Tuesday, April 26, 2016.
“They had her standing up already within a week, and half an hour after that she was walking on crutches,” said Pandolfini.
“It was just a struggle every day, every night. She’d cry. I mean, this has changed everything.”
Now, instead of despair, there is hope in her life.
“Walking out of my house, going to a restaurant, see a film, just being the same height as everyone else,” Wilcheck told Global News.
The couple credits each other, their children and their newest granddaughter for helping them find the strength to move on from the tragedy.
“I’m learning to walk with her,” said Wilcheck.
Their next goal: once she’s able to fully walk again, the couple want to get married.