‘Still standing’: Boston Marathon survivors mark year since attack

Posted at 1:33 PM, Apr 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-15 15:25:08-04
celeste boston marathon survivor

Celeste Corcoran says she’s taking back control of the finish line, where, in April 2013, explosions caused her to lose both her legs. (Photo: Robert Fogarty/Dear World)

BOSTON, Mass. (PIX11) — A year after twin blasts ripped through a crowd gathered at the Boston Marathon finish line, survivors are reflecting on their challenge – and ability – to put one foot in the front of the other toward recovery.

Three people died in the April 15, 2013, attack. More than 260 others were injured, dozens of them losing limbs and sustaining deep scars.

Dear World, a social/art project that highlights meaningful messages survivors want to share, asked those who were at the 2013 finish line to return to that fateful spot and share their stories of survival.

Among the survivors visiting the finish line for the first time since the attack was Celeste Corcoran, who lost both legs in the blast.

Putting her prosthetics aside, Corcoran scrawled the words, “Still standing,” on what is left of her limbs.

“That finish line has been a negative space since the marathon. This was about reclaiming that space in a positive way. I chose to be there. I took back control,” she said on the Dear World website.

Cochran’s 18-year-old daughter, Sydney, took shrapnel to her legs. Her message: “You can scar me, but you cannot stop me.”

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Heather Abbott lost her leg in the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013. (Photo: Robert Fogarty/Dear World)

Reflecting on the loss of her limb, Heather Abbott said she’s been kinder since that day the blasts ripped through the crowd.

“I think that the experience of losing my leg has made me become more compassionate, so I may have less of a leg now, but I think my heart is bigger because of it,” Abbott said on the site.

Another survivor scrawled the words, “His name was Martin Richard,” on her arms in honor of the 8-year-old boy who became the youngest of three victims to die in the blasts.

dear world his name was martin richard

Lee Ann Yanni sustained leg scars from the twin blasts at the Boston Marathon finish line in April 2013, something she now calls “a little token” from a day that has made her stronger. (Photo: Robert Fogarty/Dear World)

Dave Fortier had just reached mile 26.19 – of 26.2 miles – when the bombs went off. He suffered hearing damage, but said he feels lucky his injuries weren’t more serious and that he’s running again this year.

“Instead of letting tragedy break us, we made a simple choice: to keep running,” Fortier said in a video message to supporters, embedded below.

A year after the tragedy, Boston is getting ready for a bigger, stronger marathon.

Some 9,000 extra slots were added to the elite race, letting even more runners lace up in solidarity with last year’s lot of athletes.

Read more survivors’ stories at Dear World: Boston Marathon, by clicking here.

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David Fortier was at mile 26.19 when the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon finish line in April 2013. (Photo: Robert Fogarty/Dear World)