Brittany Loring sat in a cab, the man she would soon marry at her side, and the man who raised her calling long-distance on her cellphone. Her father, Dan Loring, was in Mexico on vacation but hadn’t forgotten. He sang her “Happy Birthday.”
That was the morning of the Boston Marathon. Hours later, both men would get a text from Loring containing the same fear-inducing word: “Hurt.”
In Mexico, Dan Loring changed out of his swim trunks, grabbed a backpack and ordered a taxi driver to break all speed limits to get him to the airport, where he caught the first of three flights that would take him to his daughter’s hospital bed.
“That was the longest flight of my life,” he said.
Brittany Loring, a Boston College student working toward degrees in law and business administration, turned 29 the day of the marathon. She had been standing at the finish line with fellow graduate student Liza Cherney.
From what Loring’s family has pieced together, a stranger saw her on the ground, wrapped his jacket around her legs and flagged down rescuers. She arrived at the hospital in critical condition with a head fracture, a BB in her neck and shrapnel in her legs.
In a week, she would undergo three surgeries. She would also receive a special gift from the nurses: a birthday cake. Loring and Cherney, who was also injured and celebrated a birthday last week, had planned a joint party the weekend after the marathon. They will still have it. They’re just not sure when.