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Top 10 Uplifting Survivor Stories from the Boston Marathon

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Andrew Tejada
Script written by Andrew Tejada They may have faced adversity but these Boston marathon survivors prove that they’re more than survivors, they’re inspirational to us all. For this list, we're looking at the inspiring stories that emerged in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. These narratives exemplify people who came through dark times and found an inextinguishable light.

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Top 10 Uplifting Survivor Stories from the Boston Marathon

These brave people rose above tragedy and elevated everyone’s spirits. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Uplifting Survivor Stories from the Boston Marathon.

For this list, we're looking at the inspiring stories that emerged in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. These narratives exemplify people who came through dark times and found an inextinguishable light.

#10: John Odom Recovers

On April 15th, 2013, two bombs were detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. John Odom was standing less than 20 feet from the explosives at the time. Although his family acted quickly to get him medical attention, doctors were unsure if he’d make it. After undergoing eleven surgeries in under a month, Odom began to bounce back. Despite permanently losing sensation under his left knee, he hasn’t stopped moving forward. In 2014, Odom took part in One Run for Boston, a charity run that raised money for his fellow survivors. His amazing recovery inspired many, and meant the world to his family.

#9: Arredondo Saves A Life

One of the most recognizable images of the tragedy showed a man in a cowboy hat helping someone who was severely injured. The person under that hat was Carlos Arredondo. Arredondo went to the marathon to support friends while honoring the memory of his fallen son. When the bombs went off, he raced into action to help who he could. Arredondo found the wounded Jeff Bauman, extinguished the flames on Bauman’s shirt and got him to an ambulance. Arredondo's actions brought him national acclaim and a tight friendship with Bauman. Although he considers himself to be an ordinary man, we’ll always remember his extraordinary courage.

#8: Heather Abbott Pays It Forward

The injuries that Heather Abbott sustained during the bombings led to the amputation of her left leg below the knee. After crowdfunding helped her obtain a prosthetic limb, she decided to pay that kindness forward. Abbott became a peer counselor to help other amputees get through difficult times. In addition, she started a foundation that provides access to custom prostheses for those with missing limbs that can’t afford to buy them. Abbott did all of this while staying active and eventually returned to walk the final half mile of the Boston Marathon. Her work and lifestyle has brought comfort to those who truly deserve it.

#7: A Married Couple Perseveres

Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky went to the 2013 marathon together. But the explosion gave them injuries that sent them to different hospitals. Once they reunited, the couple came back stronger than ever. Patrick lost a leg but continues to run with a prosthesis to benefit charitable causes. Jessica, who lost both legs, started a graduate nursing program and helped create a scholarship. Recently, they drew from their experiences with their donated service dog to write a children’s book about a double amputee child and her service animal. Jessica and Patrick have each faced incredible challenges. But together, it feels like they can overcome anything.

#6: James Costello Finds Love

This beautiful love story started in a dark place. James Costello was in Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital recovering from burns he received in the attacks. While there, he met the traveling nurse Krista D’Agostino. They quickly bonded and began dating soon after Costello’s hospital stay. After Costello popped the question to D’Agostino, the couple found themselves with an outpouring of support. Different businesses worked together to ensure that they didn’t have to pay a cent for things like the venue, photographer, or cocktails. Costello later expressed that although he had to endure terrible circumstances, he was glad that his trials brought him and his wife together.

#5: Rebekah Gregory Defies the Odds

Rebekah Gregory was standing beside her son when the bombs went off. Her son suffered no serious injuries, but her left leg was severely damaged and had to be amputated. Gregory’s marriage to a fellow survivor ended in divorce, although she later married her college sweetheart and started a non-profit organization for kids suffering from PTSD. And despite doctors telling Gregory she’d be unable to have more children, she had a daughter in 2016. With Gregory’s resilient nature, it was no surprise that she later returned to the Boston Marathon, full of emotion and backed by a lot of love.

#4: Adrianne Haslet-Davis Dances Again

The leg trauma Adrianne Haslet-Davis suffered on that fateful day could’ve ended her dance career. But even after her left leg was amputated below the knee, she swore she’d find a way to dance. Haslet-Davis partnered with a fellow amputee Hugh Herr and a team at MIT to create a new bionic leg. In 2014, she showed off their progress with an amazing dance routine on the TED Conference stage. Since then, Haslet-Davis has appeared on “Dancing with the Stars,” raised money for Limbs for Life, and danced over the Boston Marathon finish line. Her refusal to stop moving has been both beautiful and encouraging.

#3: Jane Richard Bounces Back

At age 7, Jane Richard was attending the marathon with her family when it was attacked. In the aftermath, her parents were injured, she lost most of her left leg and her older brother died. As the Richard family struggled to grapple with the unspeakable tragedy, Jane’s recovery became a source of hope. She powered through physical therapy and learned to walk with different prosthetic legs, one of which she called “Cheetah.” Jane has brought her energy to everywhere from her own home to Fenway Park. To this day, she honors her brother’s memory and continues to grow into a remarkable young woman.

#2: The Corcorans Come Back Strong

One photo captured Sydney Corcoran’s fight for survival. Another showed her mother Celeste enduring a terrible injury. Fortunately, the mother and daughter were able to share a third photo of them recovering together. When people learned of their story, the duo received over $500,000 to help with their medical costs. Their support helped Celeste acquire prosthetic legs and ensured that Sydney would go on to be crowned the prom queen at her high school. The two Corcorans have worked together to advocate for those with physical disabilities and even received an award from Villanova University. Their bond shows that terror can’t tear this family apart.

#1: Jeff Bauman’s Struggles and Triumph

Before the bombings, Jeff Bauman saw a suspicious man. After losing both his legs in the bombings, he identified bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev from his hospital bed. Bauman’s actions helped bring the second bomber to justice, made him a national hero, and led him to write the memoir, “Stronger.” Both the book and its movie adaptation showed that his road to recovery was far from easy. In the aftermath of the bombing, Bauman struggled with addiction and went through a divorce. But he was able to stop drinking and be a strong presence in his daughter’s life. Bauman’s unbreakable spirit and perseverance exemplifies what it means to be Boston Strong.

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