Aaron Hern, 11
The gaping shrapnel wound from the second bomb blast at the Boston Marathon that cut deep into 11-year-old Aaron Hern’s left thigh bone is healing. After nine days, a rough patch in intensive care, two surgeries and well-wishing visits from no less than First Lady Michelle Obama and players from the Oakland Athletics baseball team, Hern was released from Boston Children’s Hospital.
Though he has thick staples all up and down his leg, from the outside, the thoughtful, athletic kid from Martinez, Calif., is beginning to recover. He’s been up and about in a wheelchair and on crutches, and doctors have promised a full recovery for a boy who loves to play football, baseball and basketball and runs a sub-six-minute mile.
It’s what’s going on inside that worries his mother.
Aaron happened to be standing at the finish-line barricades next to eight-year-old Martin Richard. The boys didn’t know each other. But the same explosion that shredded Aaron’s leg tore through Martin and killed him. For several terrifying minutes after the blast, Aaron lay alone on the sidewalk, blood seeping from his leg, staring at the small boy’s body.
“You can’t take it away,” his mother, Katherine, said. “You wish you could take all those memories and visions away from him. And you can’t. He’s healing physically. The emotional is yet to be seen. When Aaron found out Martin didn’t make it, he was just very, very angry and sad.”
Aaron had come to Boston with his father, Alan, and younger sister, Abby, 10, to cheer Katherine as she finished. On April 14, the day before the race, Katherine posted bright photos of Fenway Park on her Facebook page and asked friends: “Best pizza place in Boston?”
The next day, as Katherine rounded the last corner of the race, the world shifted. She saw the two bombs detonated by the suspected Tsarnaev brothers ignite. The second blast, she knew, was about 15 yards from where her family said they’d wait for her.
“I actually crossed the finish line because I was running for my phone so I could call my family,” Katherine said. “I couldn’t find them. Security was pushing people away. At that moment, I started to run a very different race.”
In the chaos after the explosion, Alan Hern, a high school football coach, grabbed Aaron’s younger sister and bolted to a nearby restaurant. When Alan realized Aaron wasn’t with them, he fought the crowd, raced back and found his son, frightened and in pain, his left thigh bone exposed.
“It looked like a war wound,” Alan Hern, a Naval Academy graduate, like Katherine, and former naval officer who had deployed to the Persian Gulf, told NBC’s Today Show. A passerby stripped off his belt for a makeshift tourniquet to stem the flow of blood, and others helped load the child onto an ambulance bound for Children’s Hospital.
What followed were long vigils in ICU, breathing tubes, IVs, fear of infection setting in and worry that the child would never again jump around the backyard with a Star Wars light saber with the same joyful abandon. There were also, Katherine Hern said, waves of humble gratitude for all the help and love and support from family, friends and the community, and for the simple beauty of being alive.
“We’re the lucky ones, and I’m beyond grateful for that,” she said. “But it does leave you with a big question mark: Why were we OK and others weren’t? And what do we do with that? That’s what’s so hard for Aaron. When we told him about Martin. To see that there was this other little kid that didn’t make it.”
The biggest challenge ahead for the family, Hern said, will be finding their way to normal.
“So I can treat him like any other kid — if he’s having a bad day, he’s just having a bad day, without worrying that it’s post-traumatic stress syndrome,” Hern said. “We’ve talked about terrorism before. War. Politics. Religion. We’ve built a foundation to be able to talk about these things. He’s smart. Intuitive. He gets a lot of stuff, which is why he’s shocked that he got caught up in something this big. He understands the enormity of it.”
Nurses still come to the hotel where the family is staying to check on Aaron and change his wound dressings. If all goes well, the family may be able to return home sometime around May 1, the day Aaron turns 12.
Adrianne Haslet-Davis and Adam Davis, both 32
Adrianne Haslet-Davis’ first thought after the explosion was whether she would survive. Her second: “If I do make it, how will I dance again?”
Adrianne, a dance instructor, had been walking along the Boston Marathon sidelines enjoying the day with her husband U.S. Air Force Capt. Adam Davis, who had just gotten home from a deployment in Afghanistan, when they heard the first blast.
The second bomb went off four feet feet away.
“It launched us straight into the air,” she said, and they landed together, both badly hurt, her ankle blown away and blood everywhere.
Adrianne grew up in Seattle and moved to Boston when she fell in love with Adam; they met at a wedding, where they spent the whole evening dancing together. They have been married four years now.
Adam Davis grew up in an Air Force family living overseas and hopscotching around the U.S. before going to college in Montana. He’s a chemical engineer and acquisitions manager stationed at Hanscom Air Force Base near Boston.
He was still on his two-and-a-half-week post-deployment leave when he and his wife were hit by an IED.
She dragged herself with her elbows into a nearby bar, where Adam pulled his belt off to use as a tourniquet. Others nearby tried, too. “The pain was excruciating,” she said. “There aren’t words for it.”
Then a man came through the crowd and said he was a doctor, “and he pulled on the tourniquet so incredibly hard I couldn’t feel my leg anymore. That was a wonderful moment.”
When people were helping her get on a stretcher, they told Adam, “You’re in bad shape, buddy, don’t move, we’re going to put a tourniquet on you as well.” He had been so worried about her that he hadn’t realized how much he was bleeding, with shrapnel all through his legs, torn nerves in the arch of one foot and broken bones in the other.
At first she was only aware of the two of them, as they both cried and said they loved one another. But when she was getting carried to the ambulance, she saw how many people were hurt, images she wishes she could forget. She closed her eyes and pleaded for painkillers: Knock me out.
When she woke up from surgery, her mom was there and told her Adam was in another hospital and would be OK. And she told Adrianne that her foot was gone.
“That was really, really tough,” she said.
“Whenever dancers have a hard day or a hard moment,” she said, “they think, ‘I need to get to the dance floor, that will make it better.’”
Now, she and Adam have wheelchair races in the hospital when he visits. He is back home in their Boston apartment, stitches just out. She is at a rehab center, learning to get into the shower by herself, figuring out how to cook on crutches. Colleagues at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Boston created a web page to help cover the couple’s ongoing medical expenses.
Adrianne is thankful that she had such good doctors at Boston Medical Center. Because her amputation was below the knee and they were able to keep her calf muscle, she will be able to maneuver a prosthetic when her leg is ready for that in a couple of months.
“I’ll learn to walk,” she said, “and as soon as I can walk, I can dance.”
Brittany Loring, 29
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 cell phone. 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.”
“My first thought was she has her arms, or at least one, but that’s all I knew,” said Loring’s fiancé, John McLoughlin, who had gotten out of the cab before her that morning to head to the Red Sox game.
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 . “When I finally arrived on the red eye, I grabbed her hand. It was, ‘Dad is here. and it’s going to be ok.’”
Loring, a Boston College student working toward degrees in law and business administration, turned 29 on the day of the marathon. She had been standing at the finish line with her friend, Liza Cherney, a fellow grad student, cheering on a friend who finished the race at 4:02:54. They blew kisses. Then came the first explosion.
From what Loring’s family has pieced together, a stranger who also happened to be a Boston College graduate, saw her on the ground, wrapped his jacket around her legs so she wouldn’t see the extent of her injuries, and flagged down rescuers, who swept her away in a wheelchair. She arrived at the hospital in critical condition, with a head fracture, a bb in her neck and shrapnel in her legs.
A website created to take donations to supplement Loring’s student health insurance provides updates about her condition. In a week, she would undergo three surgeries and progress from using a walker to crutches.
She would also receive a special gift from the nurses: a birthday cake.
John McLoughlin said Loring and Cherney, who was also injured and celebrated a birthday this week, had planned to hold a joint party the weekend after the marathon. They will still have it, he said. He’s just not sure when.
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Darrel “D” Folkert, 42
Marathoner Jac Folkert felt so good at mile 18 that when she saw her cheering husband, she ran to him, kissed him and said, “I’ll see you in eight miles.”
It didn’t quite turn out that way. Married in January, the newlywed couple from Redondo Beach, Calif., both 42, narrowly escaped tragedy at Folkert’s 40th marathon, her sixth in Boston.
Once his wife ran on, Darrel “D” Folkert rode a train to the finish line. He chose a lightly packed spot on Boylston Street, close to a restaurant and Starbucks coffee shop. After the first blast 600 feet to the left, somebody suggested they move into the street. Moments later, the second device detonated near where they had been standing.
Folkert saw smoke and sparks. His eardrums were ruptured, his lower legs were burned and bleeding, his black running pants shredded.
“I didn’t realize my clothes were still smoldering and on fire until I got across the street,” he said.
Bystanders helped him, and an ambulance took him to the hospital. He lost his cellphone.
“As much as anything with the physical injuries, just not knowing where my wife was was really hard over the next couple of hours,” he said.
Jac Folkert was about to turn on to Boylston Street for the finish when she heard two bangs and sirens. Emergency workers pushed runners back.
Minutes turned to an hour. Folkert told herself D would round the corner, see her, and explain it all. When she finally got to her backpack and phone, her heart dropped.
“There were more messages that I could imagine — phone calls, texts, voice mails — … none were from him,” she said. She tried him. No answer.
Within minutes, D’s sister called. He was OK, but at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
From the emergency room, “seeing her come around the corner was the best thing I could ask for,” D Folkert said.
“I love you. I love you. I love you. I’m sorry,” said Jac Folkert, still in her black tank top, blue shorts, white visor, and racing bib with the number“20617” blazed across it.
The Folkerts declined to say where they worked, but said they had been best friends for 25 years. Jac is a leader of the ChristianRunners LA Chapter.
“Most important to us is to send our heartfelt prayers and best wishes to all involved and still recovering, to say thank you to all who helped at so many levels, our shared Christian faith is our foundation through everything,” Jac Folkert said.
David Yepez, 15
Luis Yepez, 42, of Andover, Mass., came to the marathon with his wife and son to cheer on a family friend.
They heard the first blast when their friend was about a minute away – her own husband and two young children eagerly anticipating her approach, Yepez said. Then – 10 or 15 seconds later – Yepez felt “an enormous shock to the face, to the body.” In an instant, he said, “the scenery just changes completely to one of just complete horror and evil.”
Yepez said that he was standing five to eight feet from the explosion, which – like the first blast – came from his left side. His wife, 42-year-old Gisela Yepez, had moved to his right after the first bomb went off, but his son, 15-year-old David Yepez, was still on his left when the second detonated.
Luis Yepez, the co-owner of a computer services company called Mainstream Global, said that when he regained his senses, he saw people around him with severed limbs and a young boy, who he would later learn was 8-year-old Martin Richard, fatally wounded. He began going in and out of the cafes and shops lining the street, searching for his family.
It was horrific,” he said. “It really just was horrific.”
He eventually found his wife and son. The teen’s hair had been singed, and his legs were wet with blood, Luis Yepez said. Later, at the hospital, doctors removed a 1 x 3 inch piece of metal that had been lodged in the boy’s leg.
Luis Yepez said his son – a 9th grader at St. John’s Prepatory High School in Danvers – was discharged from the hospital Wednesday, the metal having caused no apparent nerve or tendon damage. The teen – “a good lookin’ kid with a wonderful, warm heart” – enjoys wrestling, soccer and football and should be able to recover completely, Luis Yepez said.
Denise Richard, Jane Richard, 7
A week after the Boston Marathon, the Dorchester community gathered at a tall public clock in Peabody Square to support friends and neighbors grievously affected by the bombing attack near the finish line: the Richard family.
The vintage tower clock had been stopped for several days at 2:50 to mark the moment on April 15 that an explosion on Boylston Street killed 8-year-old Martin Richard and severely wounded his mother, Denise Richard, and little sister, Jane. Martin’s father, Bill Richard, took shrapnel in his legs and suffered burns and some hearing loss. His big brother, Henry, escaped significant physical injury.
On Monday afternoon, according to local news reports, the clock was restarted in a quiet public ceremony attended by scores of residents and public officials.
On Tuesday, private funeral and burial services were held for Martin.
“We laid our son Martin to rest, and he is now at peace,” Bill and Denise Richard said in a statement.
The couple added: “The outpouring of love and support over the last week has been tremendous. This has been the most difficult week of our lives and we appreciate that our friends and family have given us space to grieve and heal.”
On May 9, the family released a statement that said Jane had lost her left leg below the knee and was recuperating from her 11th surgery. Denise Richard, who lost sight in one eye, and Bill Richard were discharged from the hospital a week after the attack.
Jane Richard, 7, is a first-grader at the Neighborhood House Charter School, according to Bill Forry, managing editor of the Dorchester Reporter weekly newspaper, who knows the family. Martin was a third-grader at the school, Forry said, and Denise Richard is a librarian there.
Forry said the mother is a native of Dorchester and a civic leader. “A very eager, energetic person who’s always out on the streets,” he said. “She would walk the kids everywhere. Very invested in Dorchester as a citizen, as a mom.”
Friends who live near the Richard family told stories of singing Irish songs with them in their kitchen late into the night, of the entire family pitching in for every volunteer effort: decorating the float for the Dorchester Day Parade, helping at the neighborhood chili cook-off, and collecting trash in the annual Boston Shines cleanup project.
The family’s church, St. Ann Parish Neponset in Dorchester, was filled for an emotional service Sunday, the Boston Globe reported.
“We also pray for immediate healing from Denise’s and Jane’s physical injuries,” the church said in a statement on its Web site. “We can only imagine the suffering that the Richard family carries today, as a result of the Boston Marathon tragedy, will be with them each day of their lives.”
Denise Spenard, 46
Denise Spenard always loved the end of the Boston Marathon: Having run an eight-mile race the day before last week’s marathon, she knew just how hard the runners had to train.
Spenard, 46, of Manchester N.H, was watching the race from the outdoor patio at Atlantic Fish, cheering on some friends who were running, when she heard an explosion that sounded like a cannon. “Oh my God, was that real?” she asked her friends. She saw smoke rising. Then suddenly, she felt a sharp pain in her side.
Spenard was thrown to the ground, then crawled with her friends into the restaurant. Once inside, she lifted up her sweatshirt and saw a clean hole in her side, surrounded by blood. She remembers thinking she had been shot.
A woman came inside the restaurant, telling everyone: “You don’t want to go out there.” Instead, Spenard raced out the back door, and a friend used a scarf to bandage her. They ran down the street, trying in vain to find a taxi, when a stranger approached a car and told the driver, “Please take her to the hospital.”
The doctors at Massachusetts General told Spenard she had a piece of shrapnel in her side. “My injuries are going to heal, but that fear we were being shot at – that’s what’s in my mind the most,” she said.
The FBI talked to her on Thursday, asking if she had seen the suspects in baseball caps. But she hadn’t seen them, or anything else out of the ordinary. And she’s since been struggling to make sense of the past week’s tumult.
“I’m numb. I don’t know what to feel, because I’m not feeling anything,” said Spenard, who went back to work Monday to return to some semblance of normalcy. “I was one of the first lucky ones. . .I get to run. I didn’t lose my legs.”
Hug for Manchester NH Mom hit by shrapnel in side watching marathon -Denise Spenard, in scrubs, says surgery Friday twitter.com/JeanWMUR/statu…
— Jean Mackin (@JeanWMUR) April 16, 2013
Heather Abbott, 38
After her doctors spent a week trying to save it, Heather Abbott lost her left foot to surgery Monday afternoon, another in a series of devastating injuries wrought by the Boston Marathon bombing.
Abbott, 38, had taken the train up from her home in Rhode Island for last Monday’s Red Sox game. The Sox had all but defeated Tampa Bay when Abbott and her friends left Fenway Park to hit the nearby bars. She was the last of her friends waiting to get into Forum on Boylston Street when she heard the first blast.
“I heard a big bang and saw people screaming and panicked,” Abbott said Friday, when she still hoped her left foot might be saved.
Abbott saw smoke swirling and people rushing into the bar – but she didn’t make it inside. The second bomb exploded, and a piece of shrapnel hit her foot. “Who would help me now?” she remembers thinking.
But a woman came to Abbott’s aid, dragging her inside the bar. Abbott’s friends crowded around her. One used his belt as a tourniquet for her leg, and she was carried to an ambulance on a makeshift cardboard stretcher. “I saw blood trailing behind me,” she said. “My friends kept saying, ‘We won’t leave you.'”
She finally made it to the hospital. Her left foot was shattered, with damage to the bones, tendons, and nerves. Monday’s surgery was her third, according to a friend, Jason Geremia, who was camped out in the hospital recovery room.
“Her spirit is unbelievable, the way she’s handling this,” Geremia said.
Jacqui Webb, 25
Jacqui Webb has had three surgeries at Tufts Medical Center in Boston in the past week to repair damage to her leg and clean a wound where shrapnel ripped a hole through her right calf, her uncle said.
Both her hands, which were burned in the blast, are covered in bandages. Shrapnel is still lodged in different parts of her body, William Webb said. The partial hearing loss she suffered in the April 15 attack has returned on its own.
William Webb said his family is just grateful that “Peanut,” as the family knows her, is alive and recovering.
They owe the credit, he said, to her boyfriend, Paul Norden, and his brother, J.P., who pushed Jacqui out of the way and onto the street, when the second bomb exploded. Paul and J.P. Norden each lost a leg as a result of the blast.
“We’re just very happy and proud that somebody did that for my niece,” William Webb said. “As long as he lives we are there for him. Whatever he needs.”
William Webb said his niece, who has a twin sister, Janel, lives in Stoneham, Mass., her hometown, which is less than 10 miles north of Boston. Jacqui, a realtor, graduated from Stoneham High School and attended Suffolk University.
“She’s just a sweetheart of a girl,” her uncle said.
A huge Red Sox and Bruins fan, Jacqui loves to travel and spend time with her family and her boyfriend of 10 years, William Webb said.
Going to the Boston Marathon had almost become a family ritual. “She goes just about every year,” William Webb said. “I used to go when we were kids.” He said his parents were also in the crowd, but they weren’t injured.
Jacqui and her boyfriend were there to cheer on a friend. They stood near the finish line, not far from where 8-year-old Martin Richard was standing before he died, William Webb said.
“She loves life and that’s what these two guys tried to erase — people’s lives,” he said.
William Webb said he remains concerned about the toll the tragedy will take on his niece. “She’s going to bounce back physically,” he said. “But what is it going to be like for her and others emotionally?”
— Robyn Pacini (@rpacini26) April 19, 2013
Jarrod Clowery, 35
He’s a carpenter and skillful pool player whose hands are wrapped in bandages to cover the burns and shrapnel injuries. The legs are bandaged, too.
And at 35, Jarrod Clowery, a fan of hip hop music, needs to remind callers to speak up if they want to know about what he experienced as he stood in the Boston Marathon crowds closest to the second explosion. His hearing is down to about 15 percent in one ear and only “moderately good” in the other, he said.
But, he said, more than once: “I am blessed.”
Three of Clowery’s buddies who were with him each lost limbs in the bombings, Clowery said Monday from his bed at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, ticking off their names: two brothers and their third friend. “Get that down. I am blessed.”
Clowery was raised in Stoneham, Mass., a town nine miles north of Boston, and had recently been living with his girlfriend in Cranston, R.I., he said. He doesn’t recall going to the marathon as a child, but he was there last week to cheer on an acquaintance – and to be cheered up himself after a long winter with little work.
His friends go every year and “one called me to come downtown so you get out of the house.”
They heard the first explosion and Clowery said, “I had this gut feeling it was bad, and could feel the crowd shifting and thought we should try to get out into the street,” from behind the barricades penning in spectators. They were close to the mailbox that can be seen in many photographs, standing just behind the row of people leaning on the railing lining the street.
He shouted at his friends to “move, get your ass out into the street” and hop the metal fencing. He got both of his hands onto the railing, but before they all could clamber over, another bomb went off. Clowery believes he already was in the air, clearing the metal guardrail, when the explosion hit, which may have saved his legs. His friends still were grounded. “They’re all big guys. I think they spared some other people when they took that impact.”
“I just prayed for no more explosions,” and “then I’m not clear about everything. I was stunned” and out on the street, pants torn and receiving aid from two police officers, one a Connecticut state trooper and another an officer from a Connecticut town, television footage shows. He’s made a point of learning their names so he can say thank you-he has so many thank yous, he said. “My leg was like hamburger and my hands were messed up.”
Clowery had returned to Stoneham a few days before the marathon, crashing on the couch of a friend in preparation for seasonal work as a carpenter.
He’d made some decent money playing pool in his younger days, he said, but as he moved into his 30s, the travel and uncertainty of that life sapped its appeal.
In a saga familiar to many blue collar workers, Clowery said he got a union job as a laborer until the economy flatlined. A buddy set him up in carpentry, and he worked when he could in good weather and got help with bills from family during the long cold months. Most of his early spring paydays were plowed into paying back his family’s generosity.
Clowery was set to start Wednesday on a small flooring job and “a decent job on some deckwork” the week after that. To save gas money for the commute to Rhode Island, he was sleeping on the friend’s couch during the week.
It’s a cycle that “gets me by,” Clowery said.
He wants to leave it at that. But when pressed, he said, “the winter has been tough with bills. It’s not easy.”
And then pressed again, he replied, “No, I don’t have health insurance.”
Jeffrey Bauman, 27
In a photograph relayed around the world, Jeffrey Bauman became the face of the Boston Marathon bombing — a 27-year-old man in a wheelchair, rushed away from the wreckage with his legs sheared by shrapnel.
Bauman was a bystander to the blast that day, a big-hearted guy who plays guitar and works at Costco and had joined crowds near the finish line to cheer on his girlfriend.
He survived but lost both legs near the knee. And before he had the chance to recover, Bauman captured the world’s attention again as a Bloomberg News report described what had happened when he emerged from the fog of surgery at a Boston hospital.
He asked for a pen and paper. He wrote what he saw before the explosion. And his memories became important clues for investigators.
“Bag,” he wrote. “Saw the guy. Looked right at me.”
Since April 15, Bauman has become an inspiration to a growing circle of friends and strangers who admire his strong spirit and positive view of the world, even as the bombing changed his life. One fundraising effort collected more than $647,000 for him in seven days.
“From a hospital bed, he was able to help stop these bad guys — that’s like super-hero status,” said Andrew Lowe, a friend since their teenage years together at Chelmsford High School in Massachusetts.
Lowe said he messaged Bauman through Facebook a few days after the bombing, and he was reassured by his friend’s reply, which he recalled as: They couldn’t take me out that easily.
“He’s already smiling and pushing around in a wheelchair,” Lowe said.
His family is not yet speaking to reporters, but his father posted on Facebook Sunday: “My boy is alive and resting peacefully tonight. He is a strong person indeed. I love him dearly and will help him get back to his old self. Thank you all for your well-wishes.”
At Costco in Nashua, N.H., where Bauman worked in the deli making sandwiches and soups, co-worker Julie Cabral said 40 or 50 employees gathered in the break room Tuesday for a FaceTime visit with Bauman as he continued to recover in the hospital.
Many have contributed to fundraising efforts, she said, and one started a collection to buy Bauman a new Martin acoustic guitar. For the FaceTime visit, employees made him a cake and decorated a banner, she said.
“’Oh, I’ll be there in 20 minutes,’” Cabral recalled him joking. “We were all laughing and talking with him.”
Another friend, Michael Fratus, who plays guitar with Bauman, said fellow musicians are organizing a fundraising concert on his behalf. The only obstacle they have encountered: Too many bands wanted to perform.
“People say it about any of their friends: ‘It couldn’t have happened to a nicer kid,’ ” Fratus said. “This is the epitome of that.”
Friends said Bauman is a fan of the Grateful Dead and the band Hot Day at the Zoo. “He’s just a great kid,” said Jay Spruth. “Perfect attitude. Never complains about anything. Always cracking jokes. Loves music.”
Another friend, Lizz Quirk, summed up her thoughts in an email. “Jeff Bauman is a hero and an inspiration to everyone in the town of Chelmsford and the city of Boston. If there are any names or faces to remember from this horrible incident, it should be those of the heroes, not the bombers.”
John Odom, 65
John Odom was just a month from retirement when he came to Boston to watch his daughter Nicole run the marathon. Now he is among the bombing victims in the most critical condition, scheduled to undergo his seventh surgery on Tuesday, according to his wife, Karen.
Shrapnel from the first explosion severed an artery in Odom’s leg, and he bled extensively before making it to the hospital, where he went into cardiac arrest. “He’s the sickest of anyone, of the all the patients, is what they told us,” Karen Odom said.
Odom, a mechanical contracting businessman from Torrance, Calif., was watching the race with extended family, including his daughter’s husband and a 6-year-old grandson. The force of the first blast, just a few feet away, threw everyone to the ground, recalled his wife, who was standing in front of her husband at the finish line. “John started saying, ‘My leg, my leg. Oh Karen, my leg,'” she recalled.
Karen wasn’t injured by either bomb –“I didn’t have a scratch on me” — and she rushed to help her husband. Their son-in-law, Matt Reis, who plays professional soccer for the New England Revolution, tied a tourniquet around Odom’s leg, and a fireman with a backboard helped carry him to the ambulance. A doctor took Karen by the hand to make sure she made it through the chaos to her husband’s side. “It’s a miracle,” she said. “We hope the miracle continues.”
The family has been keeping vigil at the hospital ever since. There were some complications after the first surgeries, and Odom is still on a ventilator. “The last two days has been really rough. There was some infection, and they’re trying to clean that out,” his wife said.
Karen Odom paid only passing attention to last week’s manhunt. “I guess I’m happy they caught the one guy alive, because I’d love to know why he targeted families, children,” she said.
— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) April 19, 2013
J.P. Craven, 25
J.P. Craven was watching for his dad to finish what was expected to be his final Boston Marathon when the first explosion knocked him to the ground. He got up, confused, ears ringing, intensely dizzy, and thought: “I must have walked into a pole.” Then he tore off his sweatshirt, which was on fire, and his shirt, which was wet with blood, and he ran.
He didn’t feel any pain in those first moments — doctors were surprised, later, that he was able to walk away, let alone run. He just remembers thinking he had to get away and find help. He saw people staring at him, everyone still trying to figure out what was happening. “To see someone running down the street with a bleeding head,” he said, “that probably was a little confusing to people.”
Volunteers helped him to the nearby medical tent at the finish line, and as they were laying him down and he became aware of the pain in his head, he stopped the paramedic and asked to use her phone: He didn’t want his mom, who had been watching the race directly across the street with his 14-year-old brother and had seen the two blasts, to worry.
“That’s J.P.,” said his father Joe Craven. “He’s a good guy. A tough guy, a good athlete, but he just cares… He’s always going to think about the other person first.”
That was the last time they were able to talk until he regained consciousness after surgeries the next day.
Joe Craven was at Boston Medical Center that night, waiting for hours in a room crammed with sobbing families when it hit him. “When it’s the governor, the president, the mayor on TV saying ‘Our hearts go out to the families of the victims,’ you say, ‘Holy mackerel — they’re talking to me. They’re talking to us.’”
“You always think this happens to somebody else,” he said. “But it’s not always someone else. It’s always someone.”
This someone was J.P. Craven, a 25-year-old math and science teacher living in coastal Hingham, Mass., who would rather not talk about himself, really, but can’t say enough good things about the people at Boston Medical Center. From the doctors — the skill of the surgeons on down to all the extra time one resident put in cleaning his wounds to help them heal more quickly — to the nurses, to the paramedics, to the non-medical staff who kept joking with him as they rolled him through the hospital. “They were clearly very, very sorry about what had happened,” he said, “and they wanted to do what they could to help me out.”
His parents said they are incredibly grateful, too, especially after waiting in the intensive care unit that night as doctors operated on his head, repairing his ear and nose and worried about brain damage.
“The doctors said there’s really no medical explanation why he’s not more injured,” Joe Craven said.
“He was so close” to the bomb, his mother Nancy Craven said. “All the other victims that close lost legs.” Her son, in contrast, took ball bearings in the head, but none of them pierced his skull, she said.
On Tuesday, when they took out the breathing tube and Craven came to and was able to talk, his family really knew he was going to be all right. He had another four- or five-hour surgery on Wednesday to reconnect some of the nerves on his forehead.
J.P. makes it sound like he just got a scratch or two.
“I‘m so blessed to be in the situation I’m in,” he said. “I also don’t want to forget about the people who are still in the hospital, some still in critical condition, and those who died.”
By Saturday — after sleeping through much of the manhunt and lockdown that paralyzed the city — Craven was able to go home to a house full of former baseball teammates and friends from Davidson College who flew in to see him, old high school buddies who stopped by, and all kinds of desserts baked by neighbors and family friends.
He thinks his hearing will come back fully once the scar tissue heals on his burned ear. He has to have some more metal removed from his leg and lots of other follow-up appointments. But he’s already talking about getting back to the classroom, hopefully before the school year ends. He wants to see the kids he coaches play one of their next baseball games.
Craven also thinks this might not be his dad’s last Boston marathon, after all.
Joe Craven was half a mile from the finish line when the race stopped. He didn’t stop, though: He had just gotten word from the hospital that J.P. was there, and he knew the quickest way to get through the chaos and barricades and the crowds to find his son at Boston Medical, a mile away.
“I did finish,” Joe Craven said. “I ran there.”
Kaitlynn Cates, 25
Kaitlynn Cates went to the Boston Marathon to cheer on her friends in the race. She was about 50 feet from the finish line when the first bomb went off, throwing her to the ground and injuring her leg. She was there with Leo Fonseca, 41.
“Leo tried to hook his body around me,” Cates, 25, recalled in a statement released by Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was taken for her injuries.
“He literally straddled me and said ‘Stay down. Stay down’ because I was trying to get up and he didn’t know if there was going to be another bomb,” she continued. “Bodies had fallen back on us and I started to crawl under them to get away.”
Fonseca wrapped Cates’s injured leg in a blanket and his sweatshirt, picked her up and carried her to the alley where he had parked his car. There, strangers came forward to offer their aid.
One helped elevate Cates’s leg. Others directed traffic so that Fonseca would be able to drive her out of the alley. Another helped move Cates into the front seat of the car.
Fonseca maneuvered through the chaotic traffic and within about eight minutes had delivered Cates to Massachusetts General Hospital. She was the first victim to arrive, according to the statement.
Leo “saved my life,” Cates said in the statement. “He’s a true hero.”
Cates and Fonseca met President Obama when he visited Boston in the wake of the attack. She has followed the news in recent days, and she is “so grateful they have captured the perpetrators,” she said.
According to a Web site created to raise money for Cates’s recovery, her leg has been saved.
“I’m definitely going to rise above this,” she told Fox News. “It’s always going to be a scar, but I’m not going to let them win. I’m not going to let them stop me from living a normal, happy, healthy life.”
Karen Rand, 52
Karen Rand was watching the Boston Marathon with her friend Krystle Campbell near the finish line when two bombs exploded, killing her friend and seriously injuring Rand in the leg.
Rand’s leg was amputated below the knee, according to her son, Stephen Rand II. She is awaiting another surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and has been recovering well, her son reported.
Rand had sent out a picture earlier with Campbell, her son said, and he remembered how close she was to the race when he heard about the explosions. He immediately traveled to Massachusetts from Maine.
“We didn’t know where she was,” Stephen Rand said. “We pretty much ran laps all over Boston.”
Rand’s family learned of her whereabouts only after discovering that authorities initially reported Campbell injured, rather than dead, because Rand had been carrying her identification and phone. It was 3 a.m. Tuesday before the Rand family learned of the mix-up, he said.
President Obama also paid a visit to Rand at her hospital bed.
“He came in and he said, ‘Hey Karen, how’re you doing?” her son said. “He was joking around, saying it was time for us to look after our mother and that ‘we have the best people working on you.'” Rand said Obama – who he noted is familiar with Boston from his time studying there – came at a time when the family really needed someone to lighten the mood.
Rand used a picture from the president’s visit on a donation site he created for his mother. The site is operated by Give Forward and has raised over $ 7,000.
Despite the loss of her leg and her friend, Karen Rand has remained “true to the core” and “charismatic,” her son said.
“She’s been really positive,” he said.
He isn’t certain when his mother will be able to leave the hospital and return to her job as an executive assistant to the Summer Shack restaurant group, but he’s confident about her recovery and her next surgery.
— Jenna Sakwa (@Jennasakwa) April 18, 2013
Kevin White, 35, Mary Jo White, 71, William V. White III, 71
Benjamin Coutu was watching TV footage of the Boston Marathon bombings when he did a double take. Was that his good friend’s younger brother, Kevin White, being carted away by paramedics?
“I waited by the TV to see it again,” Coutu said. “I’m like, ‘man, I think it is.'”
Coutu had not seen Kevin White in a decade; he had been closer with Andrew White, Kevin’s older brother. As he watched and re-watched the footage, he thought to himself, “Maybe I’m making too much of it. Maybe I want to personalize.” He got out his camera anyway, snapped a photo of the screen, and sent it to Andrew.
In Portland, Oregon, Coutu said, Andrew’s phone was “buzzing constantly.” The clinical psychologist was “in session,” not knowing what had happened on the East Coast, not knowing that his mother, father and brother had been seriously wounded in a bombing, Coutu said.
“Apparently, it was Kevin trying to get through,” Coutu said.
By that evening, Coutu said, Andrew was on a plane to Boston to tend to his wounded family members. Their injuries, he said, were serious. Kevin White had trauma to his abdomen and several hairline fractures; he was released from the hospital Wednesday, Coutu said. Mary Jo White, Kevin and Andrew’s mother, had seriously wounded a hand and was discharged Friday, Coutu said.
And Bill White, Kevin and Andrew’s father, remained hospitalized in intensive care as of Friday night. One of his legs was severed below the knee, Coutu said.
Kevin, Mary Jo and Bill did not know anyone running in the marathon. Coutu said, but they decided to grab lunch in Boston and watch the race.
Coutu, 38, of Fitchburg, Mass., said he spent time Friday night with Andrew White – a classmate from Lawrence Academy in Groton – just after authorities apprehended a second suspect. They hugged and reflected on the culmination of a “crazy week.”
“There’s such a relief, and honestly the best part was seeing the cheering crowds in Watertown on TV,” Coutu said. “We were just both happy that he was caught, not just for safety, but for the morale of everyone watching.”
Krystle Campbell, 29
At first, the family of Krystle Campbell, 29, believed she had been spared because a friend who survived was holding her identification — causing authorities to incorrectly inform her relatives that she was injured but alive.
Only later did her loved ones learn that Campbell had died in the twin blasts last Monday, one of three fatalities in the Boston Marathon bombing.
Campbell’s friends and family described her as hardworking and generous. One friend, Yann Kumin, said: “Her hobby was people.” Campbell’s employer, Jasper White’s Summer Shack restaurant, closed in mourning following the news of her death. Her close friends were “just heartbroken” said Kumin, a longtime friend and football coach at a nearby high school.
“She was the rock of her family, she was the rock for many of her friends,” he said, his voice breaking as he described her.
Campbell grew up in Medford, Mass., and graduated from Medford High School in 2001. A longtime neighbor and friend of her parents said she had been a sweet and generous child who grew up to be a giving and lovely daughter.
Friends and family have created a Facebook page for her called “R.I.P. Krystle Campbell.” On the page, her mother wrote, ‘She was the most lovable girl. She was a beautiful young being. She loved pets. She loved people.’”
Also on Facebook is a comment from Campbell’s colleagues at Summer Shack:
“No words can describe how much she meant to all of us. She was an incredible woman, always full of energy and hard at work, but never too tired to share her love and a smile with everyone. She was an inspiration to all of us.”
The comment is accompanied by a picture of Campbell and friend Karen Rand, who stood next to her along the marathon route and lost a leg in the blast.
“She was just a really really nice girl,” Stephen Rand II, Karen’s son, said of Campbell. “It was kind of hard to be negative around her because she was such a positive person. Everybody liked her. She did anything for anybody.”
Rand attended Campbell’s wake Sunday and said that “a huge circle of people” was there. The Medford mayor and Sen. Elizabeth Warren were also in attendance, he said. Krystle Campbell’s funeral was held Monday in Medford.
Lee Ann Yanni, 31
Lee Ann Yanni had just watched her friend cross the finish line when the first bomb went off, its “cannon-like” clap thundering terror on what should have been a celebration. Moments earlier, Yanni, 31, had been debating who would get to tell a runner-friend that her marathon time of 3:59:52 was eight seconds better than her goal. Now she was staring down at the exposed fibula on her left leg, wondering “Just, what happened?”
“It turned into controlled chaos,” Yanni said Tuesday. “Nobody knew what was going on at the time of the explosion.”
Yanni, a physical therapist who lives in Boston, came to the marathon to cheer on friends and patients who were running. She was standing in front of Marathon Sports — in a group that included her husband and other supporters of her friends — when the first bomb detonated only 10 feet away.
Shock seemed to erase any pain, Yanni said, even as she looked upon her injured leg. She made her way into Marathon Sports and told her husband, 32-year-old Nicholas Yanni, “where to tie a tourniquet,” knowing from her work that she needed to stop the bleeding.
“I was kind of directing him,” Yanni said. “He did amazing, though. He went into complete survival mode.”
In the days that followed, Yanni said she had three surgeries. Doctors removed a large piece of metal – and possibly some ball bearings – from her leg, then went about the work of removing dead tissue and repairing the skin. She asked from the beginning, “It’s just my fibula, right?” knowing that she could run again were the injury to be limited to just that bone.
Yanni had planned to run in Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon at the end of May. That won’t happen now. But Yanni, who was released from the hospital early last week, said she hopes to still run in the Chicago Marathon in October.
“I still have six months, five months-ish,” Yanni said with a laugh. “It’ll probably be a run-walk.”
Yanni, who still needs crutches or a wheelchair, said the days and weeks after the bombings have brought mixed emotions. She has been touched by the support she has gotten in Boston. When she goes out of the house, strangers who have seen her on the news approach and give her a hug, and friends and co-workers have raised more than $5,000 toward her medical bills.
But Yanni said there are also moments when thinking about the path to recovery dampens her spirits.
“Just to have your dreams ripped away from you for that split second, it’s like, this sucks,” Yanni said. “I just want to be out there running and training.”
Yanni said that she has followed news coverage of the suspects, and that, too, sometimes leaves her feeling angry.
“It’s so frustrating to see the smug look on their face when they’re dropping the backpack and walking away,” she said.
Liza Cherney, 29,
“Marathon Monday is pretty amazing to witness,” Liza Cherney tweeted on Patriot’s Day 2012, as she witnessed her first Boston Marathon.
Cherney, a native of Novato, Calif., returned to Boylston Street this year to cheer on fellow Boston College business school classmate, Meaghan Zipin, who was running to raise money for charity.
Brittany Loring, another Boston College MBA candidate and Cherney’s best friend, joined her. They hail from opposite sides of the country, but after meeting two years ago, they learned that they shared a love of running, the same birthday month — April — and an overachieving streak. Loring is pursuing a dual law and business degree. Cherney is on her second graduate degree, having already earned a masters in gerontology. They are slated to graduate in three weeks.
The day of the marathon, they had been tracking Zipin’s progress and made it to the finish line in time to blow their friend kisses. Then came a deafening explosion as the first bomb went off.
In the chaos that followed, emergency workers took Cherney and Loring to separate hospitals. Loring ended up at Boston Medical Center and Cherney was rushed to Beth Israel. Both had been blitzed with bee bees, nails and other shrapnel that had been packed inside the bomb.
“Where is Liza?” Loring kept asking, her father Dan Loring recalled. In the days that followed, the friends eventually were able to connect by phone, including on Tuesday when Loring called to wish Cherney happy birthday. Loring’s birthday was the day of the attack. Both women turned 29.
Friends who have visited Cherney said she is expected to make a full recovery and was in good spirits. Her family, who flew in from California to be at her side, declined to be interviewed.
She and Loring were supposed to celebrate their birthdays together the Saturday after the race. While delayed, friends say the date is one they plan to keep.
Lu Lingzi, 23
On a gorgeous spring day, Lu Lingzi and two of her friends at Boston University ventured to the finish line of the Boston Marathon to observe one of the most storied traditions of their adopted city. Lu was from Shenyang, one of the largest cities in northeastern China, and had moved last year to Boston, a city brimming with students and youthful energy. Before heading out that morning, she posted online a photo of a fruit salad she called “my wonderful breakfast.”
“She was very enthusiastic,” said Tasso J. Kaper, chairman of the BU mathematics and statistics department, where Lu was a graduate student. “The tulip trees were in bloom. The Bradford pear trees were in bloom. It was a very exciting time to be in Boston.”
But the tradition was cut short by two explosions, and Lu was one of three people killed in the attacks.
Lu, an only child, graduated from Shenyang’s well-regarded Northeast Yucai School in 2008, then studied economics and international trade at the Beijing Institute of Technology.
“She was a very industrious and positive student,” said one of her Beijing English teachers, who asked not to be identified by name. “Her writing ability improved very fast in a short time, and she had her own ideas on many issues.”
In 2010, she attended a three-month program offered by the University of California at Riverside that allows foreign students to earn U.S. college credit and increase their chances of getting into graduate school. Lu was fluent in English, according to a UCR spokeswoman, and several students in her program continued on to Boston University.
Lu started her graduate classes last fall. Kaper said that the department’s professors carefully watch foreign students to ensure they properly adjust to their course loads and life in a new place. Lu had no problem with that, he said, and quickly became the leader of her social circle.
“She was sweet and nice,” said Lu Zhang, a fellow graduate student who had trouble speaking about Lu without becoming emotional.
Kaper added more adjectives to the list: smart, engaged, bubbly and “very, very happy.” Lu quickly proved herself “an outstanding student,” he said. She had applied for fall internships, showing an interest in working in finance.
“She was well on her way,” Kaper said. “This was someone who was basking in the glory of success. . . . It’s a senseless loss of a young statistician. And in the most insidious way.”
Martin Richard, 8
Martin Richard, 8 years old, stood with his family near the finish line of the Boston Marathon to cheer runners at their moment of triumph. One image from the scene appears to show the boy perched on a metal barrier, a step up from the sidewalk, to get a closer look.
A few feet behind him, in the same image, is a man wearing a white baseball cap backwards. It is apparently Dzhokar Tsarnaev,a suspect in the bombing that afternoon that killed Martin and severely wounded his mother, Denise Richard, and little sister, Jane.
But since the April 15 attack, the world has learned about Martin through other images: the boy with a huge smile in the stands at a hockey game, the boy holding a sign he made at school with colored markers that urged: “No more hurting people. Peace.”
Martin’s father, Bill Richard, issued a statement on April 16: “My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin. We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover.”
Christina Keefe, a family friend who lives near the Richard family in the Ashmont section of Dorchester, said of Martin: “He was so polite, composed, older than his years really. I can see him now, holding his mom’s arm as she took them on their walks around the neighborhood.”
Martin, Keefe said, was regularly seen throwing a ball in his family’s yard on Carruth Street, or a friend’s yard nearby, or playing with his siblings.
Martin and Jane Richard attended the Neighborhood House Charter School in Dorchester, where their mother served as librarian. Martin “was a bright, energetic young boy who had big dreams and high hopes for his future,” school headmaster Kevin Andrews said in a statement. “We are heartbroken by this loss.”
Bill Forry, managing editor of the Dorchester Reporter, a weekly community newspaper, wrote:
“Martin Richard was a little boy who charmed his teachers, annoyed his sister, and rough-housed with his big brother. He could be mischievous, but was old-school polite with his elders and peers. He loved the [Boston] Bruins and … and going skiing with his dad. He wanted to be a hockey goalie, even though he wasn’t yet a hockey player.”
When Martin wasn’t scoring touchdowns and batting homers on the playground, Forry wrote, “he liked to star-gaze and learn astronomy from his next-door neighbors, who in Dorchester, are like family even if there’s no relation.”
Patrick Downes, 29 and Jessica Kensky, 32
Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky are newlyweds and avid runners who were standing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs exploded. They each lost a leg, and Kensky’s right foot was badly hurt.
Their families said in a statement that the event shook many people’s faith in humanity, but the extraordinary outpouring of support that followed helped restore their own.
Friends quickly set up a page that has raised more than $600,000 from 10,900 donations for Patrick and Jessica. Others uploaded video tributes to YouTube from as far away as Istanbul and a Facebook page filled up with get-well wishes from friends and strangers alike.
“I am yet another random stranger from Houston, Texas, inspired by your story I wish you both a speedy recovery and know that you have many people pulling for you that you have never even met,” one person wrote on the Facebook page.
Downes ran the Boston Marathon in 2005, and the couple had gone to the finish line this year to reminisce about that run. A Boston native, he is finishing a doctoral degree in psychology. She is originally from California and is an oncology nurse. They met in 2006 in Washington, where Downes was working as a congressional staffer.
Downes also served on the staff of the Georgetown Preparatory School Resident Program in 2005 and 2006, according to the school’s web site. Kensky attended nursing school at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, according to the school.
Downes loves Boston, attended Boston College and was nicknamed “Jesus” in high school for his goodness, friends wrote on the fundraising page. Jessica, slightly older and sassy, did not seem the most likely choice for a mate at first, they said. But they clicked.
“I knew I was watching the union of one of the greatest loves I will encounter in my lifetime,” a friend said of their wedding on the fundraising page. “She has the spirit of a lion, and combined with Patrick’s good (the most good!) heart…will soon enough live happy, normal, fulfilling lives.”
Richard Donohue, 33
The Boston Marathon has always been part of the Donohue family lore, even back when the family name was more Italian than Irish. In 1899, Larry Brignolia won the third running of the now historic race. He was the first winner from Massachusetts, crossing the finish line in 2 hours, 54 minutes and 38 seconds — a time now considered glacial.
On April 15 of this year, Brignolia’s grandson — the family has lost count of how many “greats” precede the title — was there too. He was a protector, not a participant. But Richard “Dic” Donohue’s actions and sacrifice as a police officer will put his name beside his relative’s in the annals of the event.
Donohue, 33, is an officer with the Metropolitan Bay Transportation Authority. He was four miles from where the deadly bombs went off, but he was one of many officers to confront the suspected attackers early Friday in the Boston suburb of Watertown. He was gravely wounded by a single bullet — fired during an exchange of 200 rounds — that severed two branches of a femoral artery in his right leg.
Donohue remained at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge Tuesday, where doctors described at a news conference over the weekend how close he came to dying. After he was shot, Donohue’s heart stopped beating and it took 45 minutes to get it going steady.
But he pulled through.
On Sunday, Donohue squeezed his wife’s hand on command for the first time. On Monday, his breathing tube removed, he muttered his first words, wanting McDonald’s, asking for his 6-month-old son and jokingly telling his wife her breath smelled bad. It was a moment of jubilation for a family that has sat a bedside vigil for more than a week.
They haven’t told Donohue the full scope of what happened the night he got shot, nor does he know that police say his friend and academy classmate, Sean Collier, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology police, was killed during an earlier ambush with the alleged bombers.
For now, every movement, every sound is a breakthrough.
“He’s doing really well,” said Donohue’s 32-year-old brother, Edward, a police officer in the family’s hometown of Winchester, Mass. “We’re pretty excited. He just started talking, in hushed tones.”
The wounded Donohue grew up in Winchester, went to high school there and followed his brother to the Virginia Military Institute, where he graduated in 2002. He then joined the U.S. Navy.
At a news conference Sunday, Edward Donohue said he often joked with his brother the transit cop that “you’re never going to see any action because you’re on the subway. But there he is jumping into the midst of a gunfight in Watertown and making Transit very proud, and making our entire family, and I assume our entire state and country, very proud.”
After trying various adventures — Donohue studied in Ireland and worked at a hotel — he entered the police academy. He graduated in 2010 and found work with the transit police.
Over the weekend, 1,600 cadets at VMI — where a school spokesman said he graduated with a degree in history and above average grades — signed two school flags to be given to him.
One of Donohue’s friends from VMI, Jake Copty, described him “as a fun and laid back cadet with a wicked sense of humor.”
At the hospital, Edward Donohue was the only relative who spoke, describing how proud he is of his brother for joining in the chase that led to the shootout. “He went in there and engaged people who were firing at his fellow officers,” Edward Donohue said.
Right after the bombings, Donohue said his brother sent him a text message: “I’m alright and things are a little crazy. I’ll call you when I can.”
Said Donohue: “It’s all I needed at the time.”
Roseann Sdoia, an avid runner and devotee of Boston’s sports teams, has an annual spring tradition, her mother said.
Every year on Marathon Monday, she goes to the early Red Sox game, then heads directly to the marathon finish line on Boylston Street, staying after to “party” with friends. This year, she was standing on Boylston Street when the second bomb went off nearby.
Sdoia ended up losing her right leg and almost her left in the blast, said her mother, Rosemarie Buckley of Dracut, Mass.
Among Sdoia’s first worries when she woke up in the hospital later was what had happened to the friends who had been with her. She was worried they had been killed; in fact, they survived.
“She’s remarkable,” said Buckley.
Sdoia grew up in the small community of Dracut, about thirty miles of north of Boston. She attended a local Catholic high school, Academy of Notre Dame in Tyngsboro, then later graduated with a business degree from the University of Massachusetts in Lowell. At the time of her injury, she was living in Boston and working as a residential property manager at a New England real estate development firm.
Family members describe Sdoia – who adamantly does not want her age to be released, according to her mother – as an “infectious” and gregarious personality with many friends. She also loved running and had completed a 5K the day before the marathon, according to her cousin, Mark Buckley, of Denver.
“She’s very much a sort of larger-than-life person,” Buckley said. “She has more friends than people I know in the world.”
Sarah Girouard, 20
Just like last year, Sarah Girouard and a roommate from Northeastern University decided to spend the third Monday in April this year on Boylston Street, cheering on runners as they neared the Boston Marathon’s finish line. Then there was a blast and a burning sensation, and they were in adjoining hospital beds, both nursing shrapnel wounds.
For Sarah, a 20-year-old environmental science student, having someone she knew nearby in those early terrifying minutes was an incredible comfort, said her mother, Sue Girouard, who live in Falmouth, Maine.
Doctors said a piece of metal, perhaps a BB gun pellet, pierced Sarah Girouard’s right leg near her knee, passing through the bone and exiting cleanly. More damaging was a thumb-sized chunk of metal that lodged near her heel, requiring surgery.
No permanent damage is expected, her mother said, but Girouard will not be able to put weight on her right leg for some time.
“The heel is like an eggshell,” Sue Girouard said. “That’s the tricky part.”
“She’s a pretty tough cookie,” her mother added. “Fortunately, she didn’t see a lot of the horrific things that happened there. And it was comforting to her that she had someone with here that she knew, before we could get down there.”
Northeastern has offered to move Sarah Girouard to a more accessible, first-floor apartment when she returns, her mother said. It remains unclear when she will be able to return to her work as an intern at Boston City Hall. After three days in a Boston hospital, she’s recuperating, surrounded by family, at her aunt’s home in South Carolina.
“Emotionally, she’s OK,” Sue Girouard said. “She’s a lot better than I am.”
“Sarah could be so much worse. We’re very grateful.”
Sean Collier, 26
When Sean Collier couldn’t get onto the 130-member Somerville Police Department in Massachusetts, its ranks full and hiring list long, the recent college graduate volunteered for the city’s auxiliary force, keeping watch over parks, playgrounds and schools.
He took an unglamorous civilian job in the police records room, where he built a Web page and introduced Twitter and Facebook to cops mired in old ways. He left in January 2012 when a spot opened up in neighboring Cambridge, policing the grounds of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He engaged and protected students, at ease conversing in high-tech language and joining the MIT Outing Club on skiing and hiking trips.
But Collier never took his name off the civil service list in Somerville, and he slowly crept to the top as officers departed and replacements were chosen. The deputy chief said he was on the verge of hiring the 26-year-old officer when bullets fired late Thursday by one or both of the suspected Boston bombers ended his lifelong dream.
Collier was found shot multiple times in his cruiser next to a cancer research building at MIT, about 10 minutes after police received reports of shots fired on campus. The officer died at Massachusetts General Hospital, a casualty in a long night of violence in the Boston suburbs linked to the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Being a cop, said Somerville Deputy Police Chief Paul J. Upton, “is what Sean wanted to do. He wanted to do it here. And he wanted to be good at it. This is a huge loss to the MIT police department. And though he hadn’t started here yet, it’s already a huge loss for us.”
Members of the MIT hiking club posted a tribute to Collier on the university’s Web page with stories of his travels to sub-zero temperature zones in Newfoundland, where he hiked rugged peaks, munching on pepperoni. “His grin was irrepressible,” fellow hikers wrote. They noted Collier’s penchant for telling stories on long car trips, recalling not only the anniversary of the first winter climb of Mount Everest, but knowing it was by a Polish citizen named Krzysztof Wielicki.
“So feel free to bring any Polish dishes, wear Poland’s colors (red and white), bring a Polish flag (because you know you have one laying around your apartment), or just actually be from Poland (cool!) to commemorate this awesome feat,” they quoted from one of Collier’s notes.
— SomervillePolice (@SomervillePD) April 21, 2013