The country was shaken to its core when two bombs exploded at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring an estimated 264 more. Now exactly one year later, some who were hurt in the explosions returning to the finish line after long, emotional rehabs, both mental and physical.
The perseverance of the victims of the 2013 Boston bombings were a source of inspiration just days after the tragic explosions and now, one year later, their strength and courage in the face of injuries — most of them serious — continues to fill the entire country with hope and warmth. Now as the emotions overflow on April 15, the day of the 2014 Boston Marathon, find out what many of these inspiring survivors — from Jane Richard to Nicole Gross — are up to.
Boston Marathon Survivors: Their Inspirational Stories
Jane is the eight-year-old sister of Martin Richard, the youngest person who was killed in the explosion. Jane was with Martin at the finish line, along with their parents Bill and Denise and siblings Henry, when the bombs went off. Jane lost her left leg in the blast, and spent 10 weeks in the hospital undergoing procedures before she was fitted with a prosthesis, according to MassLive. Jane missed her last months of first grade, but happily returned in August, where teachers marveled at her resilience. Jane and her family took part in Boston’s tribute on the anniversary of the attack, which was held on April 9.
Adrianne’s, 33, life as a dancer was tragically put on hold when she lost the bottom part of her left leg at the Marathon. But she never gave up on her love of dancing, and after conquering some extreme physical and mental challenges, Adrienne performed for the first time again on March 19 at the MIT Media Lab. This year, Adrianne will be returning to the Boston Marathon, where she will meet her twin brothers at the last mile mark, to cross that finish line once again.
Nicole Gross, Erika Brannock & Michael Gross
Nicole was waiting for her mother to cross the finish line when the explosions broke two bones in her lower left leg, nearly severed her Achilles tendon, and caused an injury to her eardrum. Her sister, Erika, lost her left leg above her knee and Michael, Nicole’s husband, suffered minor injuries. Nicole and Michael will be bravely returning to the scene to once again cheer on Nicole’s mother. “We look forward to cheering on our Mom Carol and Brother Brian and our many friends that are running this year, to help us recapture our memories of the marathon,” the couple said in a statement.
Marc describes his accident as being “blown up and on fire,” according to Boston.com. Still, he continues to be one of the prominent faces of the motto, “Boston Strong.” Despite losing his right leg in the second blast, Marc has persevered and grown accustomed to walking on his prosthetic, which he proved during an emotional photo shoot at the finish line for Sports Illustrated on April 12. Talking about the pain he still suffers from his bombing injuries, Marc said he doesn’t mind it, because they remind him he’s still alive.
Paul & J.P. Norden
Following the bombings, these two brothers both lost legs and had more than 50 surgeries between them. Since then, they’ve been rebuilding their lives. Together, Paul, 32, and J.P., 34, have encouraged each other to work hard in their rehabilitations, and they have accomplished goals from getting out of their wheelchairs to not using canes to walking their dogs. Paul will attend the 2014 Boston Marathon with his mother, who was also injured in the explosions, to cheer on a nurse who helped him recover, the New York Times reports.
One year after a piece of shrapnel severed his sciatic nerve and briefly stopped his heart, John is still standing tall. Even after looking death in the eye, the Marathon survivor will be returning to the finish line with his head held high. The California native says he believes he’ll find closure by returning to the place where he almost lost his life, according to wbur.
These are only a few cases of bravery and astonishing courage — the inspirational stories of Boston bombing survivors are endless. And many more than the above will be at or near the finish line for the running of the Boston Marathon today, where all those who were injured will be honored in what is expected to be an emotional but spiritually cleansing event. Every time a runner crosses the finish line, we’ll be further and further away from the horror that devastated Boston and the entire country on April 15, 2013.
— Andrew Gruttadaro