For nearly eight weeks, they have done the hard, slow work of healing physically and emotionally in private, surrounded by loved ones, buoyed by the compassion and generosity of strangers. But they remained behind the scenes.
On Friday, Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky Downes, whose story as critically injured newlyweds resonated so widely, addressed the public for the first time in a heartfelt expression of gratitude to thousands. “As we struggled through the initial days after the Boston Marathon attacks and then began the long road to recovery, we have known every moment that we are blessed with enormous support,” the couple wrote. “There are simply no words adequate to express how we feel. But we will try.”
They thanked their families and they thanked the strangers who first came to their aid on Boylston Street, the emergency responders who brought them swiftly and safely to the hospital, the doctors and caregivers who kept them alive and tended to them. They thanked everyone who has provided support — friends, friends of friends, people they know, and people they may never meet, rooting for them around the world.
“At a time when it would be easy to despair, we have chosen faith and hope. Each of you has played a role in that,” they wrote, posting their letter to a crowd-funding page that friends set up in the first days after learning that each had lost a leg.
The site took on a life of its own that first week, the accompanying character sketches and pictures of Jess and Patrick rippling around the Internet, propelled by cousins and classmates and co-workers and cascading from there. In three days, 7,500 people clicked the “give now” button, contributing $500,000.
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