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Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor John Odom Makes Incredible Recovery

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WBZ-TV's Lisa Hughes Lisa Hughes
Award-winning journalist Lisa Hughes is a news anchor for WBZ-TV News...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Of all the people injured in the Boston Marathon bombing, few if any, came as close to death as Los Angeles area businessman John Odom.

He had 11 surgeries, lost all his blood and went into cardiac arrest twice.

Now, he is recovering at Spaulding Rehab Hospital with incredible optimism on the future.

Odom is working with his physical therapist, Jessi, toward a goal that just weeks ago he worried he’d never achieve.

“The therapists said, ‘you’re not leaving here until you can stand and you can walk,'” said Odom.

He works to exhaustion with encouragement from Jessi and Karen, his wife of 46 years.

“It’s been quite a journey,” said Karen. “I would ask the doctors, just tell me he’s going to make it. I can live with anything, just tell me he’s gonna make it. And they couldn’t do that.”

Marathon Monday had been perfect. They were with family waiting in front of Marathon Sports for their daughter to cross the finish line. When the first bomb went off, they were no more than 15 feet away.

“Right away I said, ‘oh no Karen, it’s my leg. It’s my leg and I can’t move,'” recalled Odom.

Odom’s son-in-law, New England Revolution goalie Matt Reis, raced to help using his belt as a tourniquet to stop Odom’s leg from bleeding.

Related: Reis On Odom’s Recovery

“I tell my son-in-law all the time he’s my hero,” said Odom. “If it wasn’t for him pulling that belt tight, stopping the blood, I wouldn’t be here.”

This chaotic scene is one of Odom’s last memories before he woke up at Boston Medical Center.

“Scared the hell out of me,” he says. “Woke up in this room and had no idea where I was. I just started screaming for help.”

Odom was unconscious for four weeks. The physical pain was met in equal measure with fear that he might never move again.

Everything changed when Odom went to Spaulding Rehab and started working with Jess.

“I believe I can do these things with a lot of hard work so I don’t have to  tear up my house and remodel and move sinks lower,” he says. “I’m determined to be able to stand and do whatever I’ve got to do, with a walker or crutches.”

His progress is nothing short of remarkable. In the past nine days he has gone from five steps to 100.

“They are small victories, but they’re giant victories,” he says.

Odom says he’s overwhelmed with the support he and his wife are receiving in Boston and he’s about to enjoy his first night out of the hospital. He’ll be cheering on his son-in-law and the Revolution when they take on New York at Harvard Stadium next week.

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