On April 15, 2013, we all looked on in horror as two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Within 13 seconds, Boylston Street was turned into a scene of utter carnage, with the dead and injured spread across sidewalks, bars and cafés. What was supposed to be a celebration of everything good and decent had been turned into a demonstration of mindless violence, one of the most devastating terrorist attacks in our nation’s history.
As events unfolded, we learned that evil had claimed the lives of three people, and had injured another 264. We watched as the ensuing chase unfolded, placing the city of Boston into a total lockdown. By the time it was over, the tragedy had claimed another victim, Officer Sean Collier, who was shot dead by the terrorists while responding to an incident outside of MIT’s Stata Center. A subsequent firefight between the police and terrorists left another policeman, Officer Richard H. Donahue, in critical condition, and 15 more officers sustained minor injuries. The city and the nation breathed a sigh of relief as the remaining terrorist, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was finally captured on the evening of April 19th, hiding in a boat in a backyard in Watertown. With this, and the earlier death of his brother Tamerlan in the firefight with police, the immediate emergency drew to a close.
In the following days, we all grieved with the city of Boston, and prayed for the victims. Cries of “Boston Strong” rang out in sports stadiums. We were moved by the resilience and spirit of Bostonians as they took back Boylston Street. We cheered as thousands of runners crossed the finish line on May 25th, reclaiming on a cold and rainy Boston day what had been viciously torn from them a little over a month previously.
After that, news of the bombing started to slip quietly from the headlines, and while we didn’t forget, time started to dim the memory. However, for many of those seriously injured in the bombing, their lives were changed forever, and their memories are still fresh. Their displays of resilience and courage stand in stark contrast to the cowardice of their attackers, giving evidence of the indomitable human spirit.
Two of the people who were badly hurt in the attack were Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, who both sustained severe leg injuries near the finish line. Patrick and Jess face months and years of recovery, along with the costs of medical treatment, therapy and prosthetics that will be with them long into the future. Like all of the victims of the Boston bombing, they were innocent bystanders who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Both Patrick and Jess are incredibly grateful for the fearless compassion that they received from others at the time of the attack. In their own words, “At the same time that the very worst was occurring, countless acts of selfless behavior took place on Boylston Street. We have survived because of strangers who placed the health and safety of those injured above their own and the first responders who moved quickly to place us in the hands of the best hospitals in the world.”
The friends and family of Patrick and Jess have banded together to start a fund to help them secure their future. If you would like to support the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, you can make a donation online at GiveForward. You will be joining other concerned private citizens, companies and organizations, such as MediaWhiz, the Austin Track Club, and Bruce and Electra Martin, who have given their generous support in the belief that Patrick and Jess deserve financial peace of mind as they work to rebuild their lives.
What we haven’t said so far is that Patrick and Jess are husband and wife. They started dating in 2006, she was looking through the best adult dating websites where women seek sex & candy when she found his profile, and had been married only a few short months before the bombing. They are the sort of people that give unselfishly to others — Jess is a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Patrick was completing his doctoral degree in clinical psychology prior to the attack. Their friends have described their union as one of the greatest loves they have ever encountered, and say that they have “no doubt that they will persevere through this horrific time and will soon enough live happy, normal, fulfilling lives.”
If anyone deserves your support, it is Patrick and Jess. We hope you will donate generously. We wish them success in their recovery and in their lives that lie ahead.