An ongoing series in which the Globe profiles those injured in the Boston Marathon explosions.
John and Karen Odom
Over nearly five months, through all the surgeries and throbbing pain, John and Karen Odom have longed to share a bottle of wine while watching the sun set from their house overlooking the ocean, inhale the minty air of their eucalyptus trees, and hug family, friends, and colleagues who have watered their plants, tended their garden, collected their mail, doted on them from afar.
John Odom, who required 11 operations after shrapnel severed arteries in each leg and lost so much blood that his heart stopped beating twice, will do something Friday he and his wife once worried would never happen: They are returning to California — the last of the Marathon bombing victims to go home.
“Going home is going back to reality, to our lives, getting back to the plans we had for our future,” John said from the suite at the Marriott Residence Inn in Charlestown, where he and his wife have stayed for the past months after nearly three months of recovering at Boston Medical Center and learning to walk again at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
While they have been literally counting the days until their return — Friday marks 143 days since they left their home south of Los Angeles to watch their daughter run the Marathon — they leave Boston with mixed emotions.
Corcoran, 47, was one of two people who lost both legs in the bombings.
Ever since the terror on Marathon Monday, Celeste Corcoran has hungered for the moment she would step out of her wheelchair and walk on new legs. And she had an idea what those legs should look like.
When a glamorous amputee strode into her hospital room for a morale-boosting visit in April, Corcoran admired the polished toenails and high-heeled sandals on her custom-crafted limb. She imagined that, once her wounds healed, her own artificial legs would seem just as lifelike.
Then the morning of her fitting finally arrived; the 47-year-old hairdresser “was off-the-charts excited,’’ said her sister, Carmen Acabbo. But as the prosthetist tugged on the aluminum legs for the first time, the normally expansive Corcoran grew quiet. As her loved ones looked on, she gripped a walker, fixed her eyes on the floor, and determinedly took steps. The legs felt clunky and uncomfortable. They looked to her like silver stilts.
Back in the front seat of her sister’s car, she cried softly during the drive home to Lowell. Her real legs, always her most-complimented feature, were not coming back. “When reality slaps you in the face it’s really a slap,’’ she said later.
Sdoia was injured at the site of the second blast. She lost her right leg above the knee.
Roseann Sdoia, a Boston development executive who lost her right leg above the knee, were admitted to Spaulding to learn how to walk on their new prostheses.
Because Sdoia exercised regularly before the bombing, as well as ran and skied, her insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, agreed to cover the most expensive computerized leg on the market. Insurers, including Blue Cross, said they consider these requests on a case-by-case basis.
Sdoia’s prosthesis, the Genium, includes a microprocessor-controlled knee that can climb stairs and step over objects, mimicking the movement of the person’s other knee. It takes less effort to operate than a less-costly mechanical leg or hydraulic leg, which means the person wearing it can walk farther and faster.
Still, Sdoia’s first fitting was bittersweet. “It was just the harsh reality that it’s forever,’’ she said. And even with an $80,000 prosthetic limb, there were reminders that it isn’t her own: Because of how the leg fits, the foot does not lie flat on the floor when she sits.
Caroline Reinsch and Christian Williams
After all the chaos and fear on Boylston Street, Caroline Reinsch wondered if she heard the question right. The blast had perforated her eardrums and punched a bloody hole in her thigh all the way to the femur, splitting the quad muscle. “Is there a possibility you are pregnant?” the X-ray technician asked, standing over her gurney.
It took 11 days until she had healed enough from the surgeries to be released, leaving with a bulky leg brace and wounds that needed constant redressing, the thigh where they harvested the skin graft hurting even more than the thigh ripped open by the blast. The first place she went was Beth Israel, for an emotional reunion with Williams — the two of them in tears, the nurses crying, too. He survived but was nowhere near release, and doctors were still working to save his right leg.
She had tamped down any thoughts of pregnancy until her iPhone rang a few days later. It was her regular doctor, going over her discharge file from the Faulkner, all of it seeming familiar. Then the doctor paused.
“Did they give you a pregnancy test?” she asked.
“Not that I know of,” Reinsch said.
Well, the doctor replied, hospital records showed a “slight positive” for pregnancy. It meant there was a slight chance, but that it was too early to tell.
“You might want to take a home pregnancy test,” the doctor said.
Depressed at one setback after another, Norden met people at the Walter Reed military hospital with similar injuries who had learned to thrive.
On the rain-slicked apron at Hanscom Field, almost everything seemed gray: the sky, the walker folded in J.P. Norden’s lap, his sweatpants and hoodie and T-shirt underneath. What wasn’t gray was black: his wheelchair, the asphalt, the 10 steps leading to the Gulfstream’s cabin door.
Norden, with one leg blown off at the Marathon and the other scarred and throbbing in pain, gripped the handrails. He thought about pushing up and hopping, but his body merely twitched.
He looked up at his doctor and slackened, and the doctor, E.J. Caterson, did something they do not teach in medical school. He laced an arm under Norden’s, clasped his back, and hoisted him gently, one step at a time, one minute to the top.
They had known each other across nine weeks and 11 surgeries, but it was the third week when Caterson started planning this trip. A rampant bacterial infection had sent Norden from recovery back to the ICU, plunging him into depression.
So the doctor reached out to friends at the Walter Reed military hospital, where more than 1,000 young men had been treated for injuries like Norden’s. They had learned to thrive. Being with them for a day might be what Norden needed.
Brannock lost her left leg above the knee, and her right leg was also badly injured in the the Marathon blasts. She was recently reunited with the woman who came to her aid after the blast.
Erika Brannock, a 29-year-old preschool teacher from suburban Baltimore, was near the finish line with her sister and brother-in-law, waiting for their mother to finish her first Boston Marathon. In the weeks that followed, Brannock would undergo more than 10 surgeries, including the amputation of her left leg above the knee.
Her right leg was badly injured, too. “I’ve got a space this big missing from my fibula,” she said, holding her fingers about three inches apart.
She spoke in the sixth-floor hospital room that has been her home for the past seven weeks. Wearing a green shirt that matches her eyes, Brannock talked at length about how her life changed in an instant, about her goals, her medical care and her new best friends: the trauma doctors and nurses who treated her injuries.
As crazy as it might sound, Erika Brannock has mixed feelings about leaving the hospital. Yes, she’s ready to get back to her old life, but she will miss her caregivers terribly. She turned teary when she spoke of the Boston friends she would leave behind. “I’m very excited about getting home, but it’s kind of bittersweet. The staff has been amazing. They joke that I’ve been a princess because they give me everything I want.”
Daniel, 31, was injured at the site of the first blast.
The camera turns on, and from her wheelchair Mery Daniel fixes her hair and musters a smile. “I’ve made a tremendous amount of progress,” she says, “and I couldn’t be any happier.”
The progress part is true. Two weeks ago, it took a team to lift Daniel from bed; now she can walk 100 yards on her own. But she is also fatigued and frustrated, six weeks after a blast at the Boston Marathon tore through her legs, shearing off her right calf and forcing doctors to amputate her left leg and massage her failing heart to keep her alive.
Six weeks of surgery and hospital rooms and the slow grind of rehabilitation, six weeks in which she saw her terrified 5-year-old daughter just three times. Six weeks since the remarkably driven Daniel — a Haitian immigrant who propelled herself from ESL to honors classes to medical school — was jolted off the course she had set for herself.
Now she has a new worry: Making up for lost time fund-raising. While other Marathon amputees and their relatives granted interviews, while millions of dollars flowed toward personal fund-raising sites that they or their relatives or coworkers created, the deeply private Daniel eschewed attention. Only later did her family think of crowd-funding. Trying to catch up with two GoFundMe pages, Daniel has raised less than $16,000.
Roche, 59, was injured at the site of the first blast.
Boston Marathon bombing survivor Beth Roche says she wants to thank — and hug — a mystery man in a blue uniform who aided her after the blast that ripped into her knee.
“I felt very alone, but when he was there, I felt like there was something protecting me,” said Beth Roche.
Giving an update on her recovery Tuesday at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Roche said the man in blue told her that everything was going to be all right and that help was on its way. The man had his back to the area where the bomb had exploded, said Roche, and he could not have known whether there would be another explosion that would come from that direction. Roche said she wanted to thank him “for being the man that he was and being as brave as he was” and she felt that if she could meet him, it would help bring her closure.
The Indiana resident was rushed to Tufts Medical Center after the blast tore into her knee. She faced a daunting recovery, including multiple surgeries, the Globe reported last month. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when two bombs went off near the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15.
Adrianne Haslet and Adam Davis
Haslet lost a leg, and shrapnel cut a nerve and artery in Davis’s left foot.
Air Force Captain Adam Davis spent the winter in Afghanistan, returning to Boston in late March without a scratch. “I didn’t even see anyone get injured in Afghanistan,” says Davis.
But two weeks later, on a nice spring day in Boston, both he and his wife would be seriously injured in the Marathon bombings. Adrianne Haslet, a dance instructor, lost part of her left leg. Shrapnel cut a nerve and artery in Davis’s left foot. His right foot, also peppered with shrapnel, required a skin graft from his thigh to repair torn skin and muscle. He had a perforated eardrum.
In an interview in their Seaport apartment building, the couple spoke of the day that started out so beautifully and ended so brutally. After being separated for nearly five months by his deployment, Davis and Haslet were happy to be out and about on Patriots Day, having lunch and shopping in the Back Bay. She had been to Boylston Street to watch the Marathon last year and was eager to share it with her husband.
The Northeastern University student was hit by shrapnel and had a blown eardrum.
For many Northeastern University students, Patriots Day and the Boston Marathon are a magnet. Sarah MacKay, a Northeastern senior, has been to a few, and was there with her roommate this year, too.
After lunch on Newbury Street, they walked to the finish line on Boylston. But it was chilly, and after standing there for 10 minutes, they thought about leaving.
Then the first bomb went off. MacKay called for help for her friend, whose leg was bleeding badly, and stayed with her until an ambulance took her to Tufts Medical Center.
“Compared to people all around me, I was fine. I had all my limbs, I wasn’t bleeding,” says MacKay, who is from Franklin.
Then she realized that she, too, had been injured. “I had glass stuck in my pants, up and down my leg. I had big welts on the side of my right leg.” She had been hit by shrapnel and had a blown eardrum.
Gross, of Charlotte, N.C., was released from the hospital after spending 3½ weeks recovering from serious injuries.
The photograph of a young woman in shock, her legs peppered with shrapnel wounds, her clothing torn, her limbs laced with blood that also drenched the Boylston Street sidewalk beneath her, made its way around the world.
The image, by John Tlumacki of the Globe, came to symbolize the carnage and terror of the Boston Marathon bombings through Nicole Gross’s suffering.
On Friday, after more than a month of treatment at two Boston hospitals, Gross met the man who had brought her private pain into public view.
“Hi, how are you,” Tlumacki said softly as he walked into her room at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown. “How are you doing?”
“So much better,” answered Gross, propped up in bed, as she extended her arms for an embrace.
‘I think she represented everybody who was hurt by the blast.’
Better physically, Gross said, as she recovers from a compound fracture of one leg, a nearly severed Achilles tendon, and hearing damage. And better emotionally, Gross added, as she accepts an unsought role as the dazed and battered symbol of a terrorist attack.
“The first week was horrific,” said Gross, 31, a personal trainer and endurance coach from Charlotte, N.C. “Now, I want my face to be one of strength and perseverance.”
Ron, Karen, and Krystara Brassard
The family is recovering after multiple surgeries.
Ron and Karen Brassard had never been to the Boston Marathon before, and were looking forward to the outing with their longtime friends, Celeste and Kevin Corcoran. Both couples had their daughters with them: Krystara Brassard, 20, and Sydney Corcoran, 18. They were going to watch Celeste’s sister, Carmen Accabo, run her first marathon.
The couples first met for lunch at Stephanie’s on Newbury, then the men went to grab a beer and watch the Red Sox on TV while the women window-shopped. Eventually, they all headed over to Boylston Street with handmade signs for Accabo that read “GO CARMEN, GO!” and “Congratulations, CARMEN!”
“I had stayed up late, putting beads on them so she would see them since they sparkled,” says Karen Brassard. “We were all so excited. It was such a great day.”
The photos in her cellphone tell the rest of the story. The first one, taken by their daughter, shows the Brassards happily standing near the finish line, holding the signs. In the next frame — a Boston Globe photograph later sent to her by friends — Ron is on his back on the sidewalk. Shrapnel had carved a chunk out of his left leg, and he had a severed artery and nerve damage. At Tufts Medical Center, a skin graft was taken from his left thigh to help rescue his damaged left shin and calf, which he mercifully would be able to keep.
“Our first trip to the Marathon made an impression,” Ron says wryly. “A permanent one.” He may have lost his mobility, for now, but not his sense of humor.
Rand is executive assistant to chef Jasper White.
That day on Boylston Street, the bomb tore from Karen Rand her best friend, Krystle Campbell, and her left leg. She remembers everything, every horrific detail from the sidewalk beside her friend’s body. She talks about none of it. But she holds on to her sense of humor.
So when friends in the restaurant world planned a fund-raiser for Rand to be held Sunday at the Kenmore Square bar known as the Lower Depths, one suggested calling it “The Lower Leg.”
“I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ I wasn’t sure,” said Suzi Samowski, the bar’s co-owner, but she asked Rand anyway. “She loved it.”
Rand is 52, executive assistant to chef Jasper White and to White’s partner in the Summer Shack restaurants. She went to the Marathon with Campbell, a 29-year-old former Summer Shack manager, each one beaming in the sun as they posed for a picture on the Public Garden footbridge before heading to the finish.
That Rand was old enough to be Campbell’s mother and that she did not work with Campbell on the dining room floor were irrelevant. “These things just don’t matter in the restaurant business,” said Samowski, who also co-owns the two Bukowski Taverns, one of which sits next to a Summer Shack outpost on Boston’s Dalton Street.
Rand and Campbell became fast friends seven years ago, each as effervescent and seemingly carefree as she was in command at work — Campbell orchestrating the hubbub of dining room floors, Rand holding the Summer Shack operation together.
Bauman lost both legs at the site of the first blast.
Jeff Bauman Jr. threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park before a Phillies game in May.
He also got huge cheers when he appeared before a Bruins game earlier in the month.
Bauman, 27, lost both legs in the Boston Marathon bombings and awoke at Boston Medical Center to help authorities identify the bombers.
At the Bruins game against the Maple Leafs, Bauman was introduced with text that read, “By now you know his inspirational story. His perseverance in the face of great adversity represents all that is Boston Strong.”
Seated in a wheelchair and clad in a Bruins jersey and red shorts, Bauman smiled, pumped his fist in the air, and gave a thumbs-up to the crowd. He waved a large flag with the words “Boston Strong” written in the team’s colors, gold against a black background.
He did not speak publicly but issued a statement expressing his gratitude for the support he has received since the bombings.
“I want to thank everyone for their amazing support for me and all those injured and their families,” Bauman said in the statement. “I’m making great progress and I thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. Please continue to respect our space at this time. I want to thank the Bruins players and organization for the generosity and support for all those impacted.”
Alvaro and Martha Galvis
The couple, who have been together since 1974, were injured by schrapnel.
The view from Martha Galvis’s room at Spaulding Rehab sweeps from the Tobin Bridge to the
Prudential Building. Below the rooftops, the panorama includes the finish line of the Boston Marathon, where Martha and her husband, Alvaro, were wounded, and the Theatre District ballroom where they met, in 1974.
It was a Latin party at the old Bradford Hotel, on Tremont Street, two young Colombians united in the city where they had come to study. The outgoing Alvaro was drawn by Martha’s raven-haired beauty, her down-to-earth warmth. “We started talking,” he recalled, “and then Cupid did the work.”
Now Alvaro Galvis, 62, is trying to visualize the joyous moments that so often occurred within that vista, in the years when he and Martha were raising their young family in Boston, and on their many return visits after moving to New Hampshire in 1986. Not what happened that Monday.
Loring’s body was riddled with shrapnel, which fractured her skull, tore three large wounds into her legs, lodged a pellet in her throat, and burned her skin.
Brittany Loring needs a water break and a minute to catch her breath. She’s been doing a series of leg lifts for 20 minutes. “It’s burning like I was at the gym,” she tells her physical therapist, Erin Saulnier.
But this isn’t a gym. It’s Loring’s kitchen, and her session isn’t quite over yet. “Try to keep your knee straight and your toe pointing forward,” Saulnier says before giving her patient a quick respite. Then, it’s back to work — squats using the kitchen sink for balance and practicing shifting weight from one leg to another.
Three times a week for the foreseeable future, Loring will strengthen muscles weakened after twin bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon. Her body was riddled with shrapnel, which fractured her skull, tore three large wounds into her legs, lodged a pellet in her throat, and burned her skin. Some of the metal shards are irretrievable and remain inside of her.
In homes and rehabilitation centers across the region, Loring and other bombing victims are taking their first steps toward healing. People are progressing from using walkers for halting steps, to crutches, to eventually needing nothing.
Eric and Ann Whalley
The Whalleys together have endured more than a dozen surgeries since April 15; more remain.
They met 50 years ago in England, two grammar school athletes on the way to a track meet, and married in their 20s. Empty nesters now, they love taking long walks together through their adopted hometown, like the Monday stroll that led from Charlestown to the Boston Marathon finish line.
Then, they were separated after the bombings. Eric Whalley was rushed to Brigham and Women’s Hospital with a ravaged right leg and right eye pierced by a metal fragment. Ann Whalley was taken to Faulkner Hospital, her right leg badly strafed.
For three excruciating days, they were apart. Finally, Ann was brought to the Brigham. When nurses wheeled them close, Eric reached out for his wife’s hand, his happiness penetrating a fog of medication and pain.
“My dad nearly leaped out of his bed,” recalled Richard Whalley, 25, the younger of their two sons.
What happened next was just as incredible: Michelle Obama appeared, offering hugs, medals, and M&Ms stamped with the presidential seal. Everyone teared up.
Girouard, a student at Northeastern University, had surgery to remove a large chunk of metal from her heel, which was fractured.
This summer was shaping up to be a busy time for Sarah Girouard.
She had signed up for the American Lung Association’s 180-mile bicycle Trek Across Maine in June. In August, she was supposed to begin a study-abroad program in tropical reef ecology and conservation on the Caribbean island of Bonaire.
Sarah, 20, is a straight-A student at Northeastern University, majoring in environmental science, with a minor in marine biology.
But she may not be able to participate in either of her planned summer adventures. At the Boston Marathon, she was standing with her friends near the finish line when the first bomb went off.
Shrapnel pierced a bone in her right leg, and she had surgery at Tufts Medical Center to remove a large chunk of metal from her heel, which was fractured. She also sustained damage to her eardrum.
She is recovering at home in Falmouth, Maine, where she is using a wheelchair and crutches to get around and “getting antsy,” her mother said.
Yepez, 15, was released from the hospital after being treated for multiple injuries
David Yepez is an athletic kid who loves wrestling and playing soccer at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, where he is a freshman. He’s also an honor roll student, but if there’s one thing his dad is most proud of, it’s his heart.
“He is a wonderful young man,” says Luis Yepez of Andover.
Indeed, when David, 15, was released from the hospital after being treated for multiple injuries suffered in the Marathon bombings, he insisted on visiting his friend Aaron Hern, who was still in the intensive care unit at Boston Children’s Hospital.
So David’s father took him straight from the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center to Children’s. Somehow, David felt responsible for not protecting his friend, telling his father: “I’m older, I’m bigger, and I don’t think it was fair that he was more injured than I was.”
At the site of the second bombing, just feet from where 8-year-old Martin Richard was killed, David suffered a torn ear drum, second-degree burns on his arm, and had a 3-inch piece of shrapnel embedded 6 inches deep in his leg. His family and Aaron’s had gathered to watch Aaron’s mom run her first Boston Marathon. The boys’ fathers, Luis Yepez and Alan Hern, roomed together at the US Naval Academy and remain close even though the Herns live in California.
Hern, 11, was released last Wednesday from Boston Children’s Hospital.
Aaron Hern’s friends back home in Martinez, Calif., know him as a perpetual motion machine. His mother wonders if they will recognize a slowed-down version.
“I think his friends will be shocked because he’s not the Aaron everyone knows, running and bouncing off the walls,” says Katherine Hern.
He was so energetic as a toddler that Katherine and Alan Hern directed their son toward sports at an early age. They think his fitness has helped him in his recovery.
“He’s got a good, strong body, and the doctors thought his legs would be worse,” says Katherine, who was running her first Boston Marathon this year. They’re bad enough: “Pretty torn up, from hips to ankles,” she adds.
Luckily, the 11-year-old didn’t break any bones or damage any arteries. He was released last Wednesday from Boston Children’s Hospital.
Abbott, 38, of Newport, R.I., was injured at the site of the second blast.
It was a difficult decision, but Heather Abbott said that having her lower leg amputated a week after the Marathon bombing was her best option for resuming her active life, everything from aerobics to zumba.
Abbott’s left foot and ankle were shattered by the second bomb as she stood outside the Forum bar and restaurant. Emergency personnel rushed her to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where surgeons initially saved her limb by grafting blood vessels from her healthy leg.
But over the next few days, Abbott said, it became clear that “the best case scenario seems to be going with the amputation,’’ she told reporters during a press conference at the hospital Thursday. “If I had kept it, it was very badly mangled and never would be fully healed, and it would be shorter than the other leg.’’
While a prosthesis “is something I will have to get used to,’’ she said, it will give her a better chance of resuming running, yoga, and other aspects of her active lifestyle.
Abbott is one of 16 bombing victims known to have had legs or feet amputated.
“If someone told me I would have half a leg at age 38, I would have been devastated,’’ said the Newport, R.I., resident, who works in human resources for Raytheon. She said she tried not to think about the amputation as she was wheeled into the operating room Monday, but “it’s really not as bad as I thought it could have been.’’
J.P. and Paul Norden
The brothers were injured at the site of the second blast.
Liz Norden, a mother of five, had just finished hauling groceries into her Wakefield home Monday afternoon when her cellphone rang.
“Ma, I’m hurt real bad,” said her 31-year-old son. He was in an ambulance, he told her, being rushed to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
It was her second boy, who had gone with his older brother to watch a friend run in the Boston Marathon.
On the phone, her son said his legs were badly burned in an explosion. His brother had been next to him, but he didn’t know where he was.
Within the next two hours, amid frantic phone calls and a panicked drive into Boston, Norden pieced together the horrific truth that will forever change her two sons’ lives — and her own. Each of the brothers lost a leg, from the knee down. One was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess, while the other was at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“I’d never imagined in my wildest dreams this would ever happen,” Norden said, sitting on a bench outside the Beth Israel Deaconess emergency room Monday night.
Corcoran, 17, was injured, along with her mother, Celeste, at the site of the first blast.
She lies on a blood-spattered sidewalk, a makeshift tourniquet held to her leg by two strangers. The image, shot by a Boston Globe photographer and featured on the front pages of the Globe and The New York Times on Tuesday, came to symbolize the grievous wounds and sudden heroism that followed the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon.
The girl on the ground is Sydney Corcoran, a 17-year-old Lowell High School senior. Her femoral artery was ruptured. Corcoran, near death when she reached Boston Medical Center, woke from surgery with a request: Locate the men who saved her life.
“Find Matt,’’ she said, according to her aunt, Carmen Acabbo, who added, “We would all like to thank him.”
Sydney Corcoran, despite massive blood loss, is expected to recover, Acabbo said. She plans to attend Middlesex Community College in the fall and wants to study psychology. She survived one major injury when she was hit by a car two years ago and fractured her skull, according to local news accounts.
Kight, 63, was injured at the site of the first blast.
Kight, a hospice nurse from Redding, Calif., was standing near the finish line and had just cheered on her daughter, Amy Blomquist of Reno, when the second bomb exploded. When Kight arrived at Tufts Medical Center, she had a hole the size of her fist in the back of her thigh, said her husband, Carlo Jensen.
“She was just thankful she didn’t lose her leg,” he said. “She was happy about that, and felt sorry about everyone else.”
Kight, who loves kayaking and hiking in the mountains of Northern California, has had two surgeries and will need plastic surgery to repair her thigh, Jensen said. As a hospice nurse, she is not unfamiliar with human frailty and physical struggle. “She’s tough,” he said.
Fucarile, 34, of Stoneham, was injured at the site of the first blast.
Marc Fucarile opened his eyes for the first time since the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15.
He opened them to a right leg amputated above his knee, burns across half of his body, a fractured left leg, and shrapnel lodged near his heart. He opened his eyes — which last looked out on a bloody Boylston Street — and the first thing he did was tell his fiancee Jen Regan, “I am sorry for being there. I love you and Gavin,” their 5-year-old son, according to a statement released by the family on Monday.
Fucarile remains in serious condition at Massachusetts General Hospital, the most severely injured of the nine bombing patients still at the hospital, spokesman Ryan Donovan said. His injuries will keep him there for the foreseeable future, the family said.
The statement described Fucarile as a caring, loving man who always put others before himself. After apologizing to his fiancee and son for attending the Marathon, Fucarile inquired about his friends, the family said.
“We know that the amount of support we have received is a true testament to the kind of person Marc is – a thoughtful and loyal friend; a loving and devoted son, brother and fiancé; and a dedicated and exceptional father,” the family said in the statement.
Connolly, 52, was injured at the site of the first blast.
Behind Michelle Connolly’s right eye sat a pellet, thrust there by a bomb at Monday’s Marathon. It singed nerves as it traveled through her orbital socket and came to rest on a cluster of muscles. She just wanted it out.
“I don’t want any part of that evil that hurt so many people inside of me,” the 52-year-old South Boston grandmother said the day before the pea-sized shrapnel was surgically removed.
About a dozen members of her family had stood near the finish line waiting for her daughter, Keryn Connolly, to stride victoriously across. “This was a big deal for our family,” her mother said. “The whole community was very anxious for her to cross that finish line.”
Connolly waited just to the side of Marathon Sports on Boylston Street, close to where a bomb detonated. The force knocked her sunglasses off her head and her cellphone from her hand, and something, possibly a piece of a table, hit her in the head.
She could find only three members of her group. So, disoriented, dizzy, and covered in blood, Connolly searched. One of her daughter’s friends suffered two puncture wounds in her leg, requiring more than a dozen stitches.
Lawler, 25, was injured at the site of the first blast.
A Lesley University student, Lawler lives with two graduates in an apartment in Brighton. She was at the race to watch her roommate Erin Hurley. Hurley’s boyfriend, Jeff Bauman, was there, too, as was a third roommate.
Lawler had just stepped away from the group to take pictures of the runners. Bauman had offered to hoist Lawler onto his shoulders, but she declined, opting to push toward the front of the line.
Then, a bomb exploded.
Lawler’s parents were at their Amesbury home gardening when a neighbor stopped by to tell them what happened. Knowing her daughter was at the race, Lawler’s mother went inside to check her cellphone. She had a voicemail.
“We could hear EMTs saying: ‘You’re not going to lose your leg,’ ” said Lawler’s father, Arthur.
“My daughter is angry and depressed,” Arthur Lawler said. “She’s angry that her friends were badly wounded. She’s angry that on a beautiful day somebody could have the audacity to do something like this, especially to children.”
Lee Ann Yanni
Yanni was injured at the site of the first blast.
Even after her release from Tufts Medical Center, Yanni will make regular trips to the orthopedic surgeon to repair her fractured fibula. The bone burst through the skin on her left leg, requiring a series of surgeries to clean the wound, bring the muscle back together, and cover the hole with a skin graft.
Yanni, a physical therapist, and her husband, Nicholas, were watching one of her patients and friends run the Marathon. They, too, were standing near the running store when the first explosion sounded. They both looked down at her leg, saw blood and bones.
“I kind of jumped into Marathon Sports to try and get a tourniquet on my leg,” she said.
Nicholas Yanni, who suffered temporary hearing loss, said he followed his wife into the store “freaking out. She was as cool as a cucumber.” The couple grabbed shirts from the racks to stem the flow of blood. Then he went to check on the rest of their group, and husband and wife were separated. A friend’s mother, Beth Roche, 60, suffered a shattered kneecap and other injuries as she was thrown to the pavement.
Jessica Kensky Downes and Patrick Downes
The newlyweds were injured at the site of the first blast.
She holds his hand in the photo, a step ahead, in a dazzling ruby-red dress. He leans back, easy in an untucked dress shirt, as they walk in front of a vibrant plaza in Harvard Square. The clarity and staging suggest a professional engagement shot, but the look on their faces is genuine.
Maybe it is the photo, or the equally vivid character sketches beneath it of Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky Downes, newlyweds critically injured as they watched the Boston Marathon at the finish line Monday. Jess, an MGH nurse from the West Coast, spirited and confident; Pat, a Boston College graduate and Cambridge boy, gentle, generous, and goofy; the two together, selfless and warm, cherished by their friends.
Something about them — not just their plight, but their seemingly boundless joy and photogenic charm — leapt from thousands of screens and propelled people to donate and to write. Friends, friends of friends, BC alumni, complete strangers. Within a few hours, a fund-raising page established to defray the couple’s out-of-pocket expenses had raised $23,000. By Thursday morning, it hit $150,000; by Thursday night, $300,000.
Unstated on that site, known only by some who circulated the link on social media, was that Patrick and Jessica had each lost their left leg below the knee, rushed to and operated on in different hospitals across town after Monday’s devastating bombings.
Richard Donohue Jr.
Donohue, 33, was injured during the shoot-out with bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown.
Dic Donohue, 33, was wounded early Friday morning, when he raced to help MIT and Cambridge police as they chased the Boston Marathon bombing suspects to the corner of Dexter and Laurel streets in Watertown. It is unclear whether Donohue knew then that his friend and MBTA academy classmate, Sean Collier, an MIT police officer, had been killed earlier, allegedly by the suspects he was now chasing.
A shootout ensued, during which a bullet ripped through Donohue’s right thigh, hitting both branches of the femoral artery and the femoral vein. The wound drained him of life.
“The officer’s blood volume was almost entirely lost, to the point of the heart stopping,” said Russell Nauta, chairman of surgery at Mount Auburn, said at a press conference Sunday. It took 45 minutes or so of “very aggressive effort,” he added, to get Donohue’s heart beating again.
Still, doctors said they are cautiously optimistic that Donohue, an avid runner and father of a 6-month-old son, will recover.