Liza Smeraldi wrote -
Dear Family & Friends,
As some of you may know, my good friend Eli is one of the over 200 people who were injured last April 15th when two bombs were detonated at the 2013 Boston Marathon. That Monday, Eli had plans to meet up with friends at a local bar to celebrate Patriot's Day. Eli was living just a few blocks from the finish line of the marathon, so she decided to walk down Boylston Street to admire some of the runners as they completed the run. At 2:49 pm, she made her way past the Marathon Sports store and was right at the finish line when the first bomb exploded just a few yards behind her.
That day, three people lost their lives and an estimated 264 people sustained a variety of injures. Eli had 2nd and 3rd degree burns covering her ankles and lower legs and shrapnel wounds from head to toe, including marks from dozens of BBs. She also suffered multiple head wounds as well as a blown out ear drum which caused her to lose hearing in her right ear. Eli had surgery to remove a BB from underneath her scalp and another surgery to help improve her hearing. For Eli and many other victims, the most difficult and enduring part of this ordeal has been facing the memories and realities from that day; the post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression that have been ever-present for the past 9 months.
This year, as a sign of tribute and gratitude to the survivor community, the Boston Athletic Association extended two 2014 Boston Marathon entries to each person who was injured in the attacks last year. When Eli invited me to run alongside her this upcoming April, I was overwhelmed with so many different emotions. I was excited to take on the challenge and honored to be by Eli's side, someone who has turned fear into strength.
The One Fund Boston was created last April to raise money to help victims and their families affected by the terrorist attacks that unfolded during the 2013 Boston Marathon. The money this organization raises not only goes directly to these people, but also helps provide emotional support for them. Every Monday, for example, the One Fund hosts a support group where victims participate in different types of activities such as meeting war veterans and talking to them about PTSD, doing art therapy and yoga, and listening to special speakers. This support group has helped Eli tremendously, and she says the people she has met through it have become like family to her. This is just one example of what the One Fund does to help provide understanding of the real life experiences and needs of those in recovery, and to help them plan for the future.
Needless to say, I am so proud to support the One Fund Boston, in honor of my brave and beautiful friend Eli. Please help me in reaching my donation goal of 8,000 dollars. This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart, just as it is to so many Americans. Any amount would be greatly appreciated.