On April 15, 2013, my life was forever changed. Following the tragic marathon bombings that took place a few blocks from my freshman residence hall at Emerson, I did whatever I could to process what was going on. Ultimately, I felt helpless. I had friends at the finish line and running the race, and the only thing I could think about was their safety and how I could make a difference.
Within hours, I discovered what my purpose would be in the healing to follow.
With my RAs, we created a shirt that would soon be a rally cry for this great city. With "Boston Strong" emblazened on the front in big yellow letters, a movement was born. Our original goal was only to sell 110 shirts. We soon realized that we would far surpass that goal, and have now sold over 70,000 items and raised over 1 million dollars for the victims and their families of that fateful day.
I chose to run for the Stepping Strong team because I've seen first hand how trauma can affect the people you love. I want to do whatever I can to help patients of trauma regain the strength they once had, and go beyond what they could have imagined possible.
On April 15, 2013, Gillian Reny was one of the many innocent bystanders critically injured at the finish line in the Boston Marathon bombings. She was rushed to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), where doctors and nurses worked heroically to save her life—and both of her legs. In gratitude to BWH, the Reny family established the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation at to help trauma patients like Gillian regain their strength and ability to step strong once again. To date, the center, located at Brigham and Women's, has raised more than $9 million to support trauma innovation and recovery while upholding the Boston Strong spirit of turning one survivor's story into an opportunity to heal.
Although trauma accounts for 41 million Emergency Department visits a year and is the leading cause of death for people ages 1-46 in the United States, funding for trauma research and care is scarce. The 2017 BWH Stepping Strong Marathon Team will advance BWH’s commitment to turn tragedy into hope for citizens, military personnel, and families worldwide who have been impacted by the devastation of traumatic injuries and events.
Thank you for supporting this extraordinary group of runners.