On April 15, 2013, what is referred to as Marathon Monday in Boston, Heather Abbott of Newport, RI set out on an annual tradition with six friends. They would attend the Red Sox game, followed by a walk over to the Boston Marathon finish line to watch the runners and gather at the Forum restaurant. However, Abbott would never have dreamed this day would change her life forever.
Abbott was struck by shrapnel from the second of the two bombs that day, which severely injured her left foot. Strangers Matt Chatham, former New England Patriots lineman, and his wife, Erin, carried Abbott to safety away from the direction of the bombs and saw her to an ambulance that brought her to Brigham and Women’s hospital.
After 3 surgeries in 4 days, Abbott was faced with the agonizing decision of whether to try to save her left foot or to allow doctors to amputate her left leg below the knee. With the help of other amputees and the support from hundreds of thousands around the country, Abbott made the difficult decision, at the age of 38, to live her remaining years as an amputee and use prosthetic legs.
Just four months following the bombing, she was living independently and returned to her job as a Human Resources Manager, on a part time basis. Within the first year following her amputation, she started participating in the activities she loves, including paddle boarding, running and wearing high heels. Abbott currently has four different prosthetic legs and has not let this horrific act of terrorism slow her down. She has become certified as a Peer Counselor by the National Amputee Coalition and is helping other amputees adjust to their “new normal,” as an example of hope and determination.
Heather Abbott has remained a model of strength and resilience, truly personifying the popular phrase “Boston Strong,” since the city that so many love was shaken by the senseless violence. She is sharing her story with audiences across the country and inspiring others with her contagious optimism and thoughtful reflection on her journey.