Boston Marathon Survivor Heather Abbott Remembers the Bombings 10 Years Later
17 Apr 2023
APB speaker Heather Abbott, Boston Marathon bombing survivor and amputee, was recently featured on the Today show reflecting on the 10th anniversary of the horrific tragedy. On April 15, 2013, what is referred to as Marathon Monday in Boston, Abbott of Newport, R.I. set out on an annual tradition with six friends. They would attend the Red Sox game, followed by a walk over to the finish line to watch the runners. Abbott would never have dreamed this day would change her life forever.
Abbott was struck by shrapnel from the second of two bombs—severely injuring her left foot. “I was catapulted through the air and landed on the floor of the restaurant,” she told NBC’s Jacob Soboroff.
After three surgeries in four days, Abbott was faced with an agonizing decision–should she try and save her left foot or amputate her leg below the knee? With the help of other amputees, and the support from thousands around the country, Abbott made the difficult decision, at the age of 38, to live her life as an amputee.
“I made the decision and never looked back,” she said.
Abbott was given a prosthetic leg but quickly realized she needed different prosthetics for different activities—none that were covered by insurance. Thanks to the generosity of others, Abbott received six prosthetic legs. She felt like she got her life back. Just months after the bombing, she was living independently and resuming the activities she loves, including stand-up paddle boarding, running and wearing high heels.
Abbott has remained a model of strength and resilience and is determined to help other victims of limb loss. In 2014, she started the Heather Abbott Foundation. Its mission is to provide customized prostheses to those who have suffered limb loss through traumatic circumstances. Since its founding, she has raised more than $2 million and helped 100 amputees.
Abbott is also a certified Peer Counselor for the American Amputee Coalition and is helping other amputees adjust to their “new normal,” as others helped her.
“I don’t subscribe to the everything-happens-for-a-reason theory but I do feel that this is what I’m meant to be doing now,” she told Today.