Cyclist thankful for MetroHealth doctors who saved her leg

CLEVELAND-- It started like every other charity bike ride.

First-time rider Mary Ribar, part of a cycling team, was raising money for multiple sclerosis.

"It was late summer, but it was really, really cool in the morning. It felt perfect to be on a bike ride," Ribar said.

But on that August morning in 2017, tragedy would strike. A speeding, out-of-control driver, hit Ribar while on her bike and didn't stop.

The 23-year-old was taken by medical helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center. She suffered from pelvic fractures, a fracture of her femur and tibia. Doctors feared the leg would have to be amputated.

"It was really scary and then, I had the thought go through my head, like after it happened like, this cannot be happening and then I looked down and saw my leg."

Ribar, a Cleveland State University student studying civil engineering, was hospitalized for six weeks and out of school four months during her recovery.

Miraculously, 13 surgeries later, doctors were able to save her leg.

"We actually had to take a vein graft from her other side and make a large loop from her inner thigh all the way down to her tibia. I think Mary has a, she's a special person, and I think that's what got her through it," said Dr. James Gatherwright, plastic surgeon.

"We don't always get the thanks and praise that we hope for. and sometimes it's nice to hear that people still think about you when they leave here," said Allison Mahoney, registered nurse.

Ribar is so thankful that she now volunteers in MetroHealth's Trauma Survivors Network.

Once a patient, just like them, and now a survivor.

"The atmosphere at Metro made me feel like they really, really cared and like I had friends who were taking care of me," Ribar said.

The driver who hit Ribar was eventually caught and charged.

Ribar is set to graduate from college next spring.