Today, the city of Boston is packed with runners and spectators celebrating the Boston Marathon — and remembering the victims of last year’s attack. When a bomb was detonated near the finish line, three people lost their lives, more than 14 people lost limbs, and hundreds more were seriously injured.
Adjusting to life after an amputation is not easy. But thanks to incredible rehab, support and perseverance, those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings are not just surviving — they are thriving. Here are a few of their stories.
Mery, a Haitian immigrant and aspiring doctor, remembers she had just arrived to watch the runners cross the finish line when she heard the blast. But she doesn’t remember losing her leg. After 3 days in a coma and life-saving surgery, she awoke to find her left leg had been amputated above the knee.
Today, at 31, she is learning to adjust to her new prosthetic leg with lots of help from her husband and 5-year-old daughter. She has had to put her plans to become a doctor on hold while she recovers, but she is still dedicated to her goal. She is even thinking about getting into rehabilitative medicine — you go, Mery!
Jeff was at the finish line waiting for his girlfriend Erin Hurley to cross when the bombs exploded. He lost both legs in the blast — and he also saw the suspect. Just one day after receiving two life-saving surgeries, he was able to speak with the police and describe the suspect, ultimately leading to his capture and arrest.
Jeff is still adjusting to life with two prosthetic limbs, but he said it gets easier everyday. He just released a memoir of his experience, fittingly entitled Stronger. But that’s not the only thing he has to celebrate! The girlfriend he went to see cross the finish line is now his fiancee, and they are expecting their first child this summer.
Jane, only 7-years-old, was with her parents and brothers Harry and Martin at the finish line when the bombs went off. Her 8-year-old brother Martin was killed in the blast. While Jane survived, it was not without injury — she lost her left leg below the knee.
One year later, Jane, now 8, is back to school with her prosthesis. And thanks to the organization Wiggle Your Toes, she now has a very cool “Cheetah” leg, too! This running leg is designed for everyday athletics. It has come in very handy now that Jane has joined a youth basketball league!
Adrianne was with her husband Adam at the Boston Marathon finish line when the bombs went off — they were right next to the second blast. Adam, who had just returned from a four month tour with the Air Force in Iraq, sustained shrapnel injuries to his legs, but was ultimately okay. Adrianne, however, immediately lost her left foot in the blast.
While an amputation is difficult for anyone, it had an added impact on Adrianne, who was a professional dance instructor. One year later, Adrianne is dancing again thanks to a high-tech prosthetic limb designed by researchers at MIT. You can read more about this prosthesis and Adrianne’s return to the dance floor in our blog post from March 21.
These are just a few of the many stories of strength from people who lost limbs at last year’s Boston Marathon bombing. To learn more about other survivors and their recovery, check out this interesting article in the Washington Post.
We want to hear from you. What advice would you give these individuals and others who are still early in their recovery journey?