Jonathan Story's Boston Marathon for "Be Strong Stay Strong"
Organized by: Jonathan Story
A very close friend of mine, Nicole Gross, waited near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon alongside her husband Michael and sister Erika to cheer on her mother who was just about to complete her first Boston. Nicole had trained and coached her mother Carol to qualify for and complete the marathon and the whole family was excited to see her meet her goal.
Carol made it within a half mile of the finish when the bombs exploded, gravely injuring Nicole and Erika. A photo taken of Nicole in the immediate aftermath of the bomb became one of the defining images of the tragedy landing on the cover of The Daily News, The Boston Globe and many other prominent newspapers.
Nicole was hospitalized for 33 days in Boston, recovering from two breaks in her left leg, a nearly severed right Achilles tendon and hearing damage. Erika lost her left leg above the knee and had the unfortunate distinction of being the survivor with the longest hospital stay. The articles and videos below help tell a more comprehensive story.
The Boston Athletic Association has worked closely with the survivors and their families and have found many ways to honor their courage and determination leading up to the one year anniversary of the bombing and this year's race. One decision they made was to give "Invitational Entries" to each survivor for the 2014 Boston Marathon that they could in turn give to a family member or friend that would run in their honor. Nicole gave one of her entries to her nurse in Boston and the other to me. I'm humbled that I was chosen to run on her behalf and will make my way to the start of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Massachusetts on Monday, April 21st.
Immediately following the bombing, a fund was set up to help support the Gross and Brannock families as they recover and adjust to their new lives. The tragedy happened almost a year ago, however, the families still have a long road ahead of them. Please consider donating to "Be Strong Stay Strong". 100% of the funds collected will go directly to the families and will aid in their continued recovery.