Three years ago, pressure cooker bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 250 people. Today, one survivor of the devastating terrorist attack is bouncing back spectacularly. Ballroom dancer and Boston Marathon bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis will run at the event to help raise funds and awareness for Limbs for Life, an organization that helps low-income amputees get prostheses.
Haslet-Davis had just grabbed lunch on April 15, 2013, when she heard an explosion behind her that threw her to the ground. "As the smoke cleared," she recalled to A Plus in an email, "I could see that I was missing the bottom of my left foot, my ankle/heel, and had a large gash open on my upper right thigh."
Losing a leg is a traumatizing experience for anyone, but for Haslet-Davis, a ballroom dancer, her "entire life changed in that moment."
After years of therapy and healing, Haslet-Davis returned to professional ballroom dancing — even dancing the foxtrot at the marathon finish line last year, wearing a flowing gown and a prosthetic limb — and now wants to fulfill her promise to run the Boston Marathon.
She conceded she's not a runner "by any means," but said that it was her year to accomplish this goal. "I began training months ago, to see if I was strong enough, had the correct leg, and I am happy with my training so far."
Training for the marathon has not been smooth, in part due to issues with her prosthetic limb. But things have improved.
"I never thought I would say this, but I actually enjoy running," Haslet-Davis said. "I remember thinking, on my first really good run, 'Oh my gosh I cannot believe I am doing this!' I didn't realize until after I said it I was screaming it out loud."
Held in proud tradition since the 1800s, the Boston Marathon was marred by the deadly bombing in 2013 that left the city in mourning. Since then, the annual event has taken place in an atmosphere of defiant celebration — and survivors like Haslet-Davis are a testament to the city's resilient spirit.
"Boston has proven time and time again that we will not succumb to fear," Haslet-Davis told A Plus. "We're gritty and glorious and dang proud of it!"
Cover image via Adrianne Haslet / Instagram