The morning after the Boston Marathon bombings, the unions representing Boston police officers, EMTs, and firefighters met to brainstorm the best course of action to help those who had just been attacked.
“These survivors are going to need long-term care, and we need to do something about that,” Ed Kelly, president of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts, recalled saying.
Kelly’s organization and all the public safety unions in Boston then came up with a solution: to create the Boston First Responders Fund for the Victims of the Boston Marathon Terrorist Attack.
Today, more than six months after the bombings, union leaders donated more than $200,000 from the fund to the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s comprehensive rehabilitation unit, which provided treatment to 32 Marathon bombing survivors, including 15 of the 16 who needed amputations.
The money raised by the unions came from all over the United States and Canada, and will ensure vibrancy for the rehab unit for some time to come.
The money will support research, training, and patient care within the unit, said Tim Sullivan, spokesman for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
“The important part for why this money matters is these are lifetime injuries,” Sullivan said. “They will need new prosthetics and care for the rest of their lives.”
Though the rehabilitation process is a long journey, the survivors are making progress. All 32 treated at Spaulding were discharged by July. Some are still outpatients who visit the hospital for occasional care or training with their prosthetic legs.
“As a whole, they are making a lot of progress and getting back to the new normal,” Sullivan said.
Marathon survivors Marc Fucarile and Roseann Sdoia attended a ceremony marking the donation today at Spaulding, as were the two police officers and the firefighter who saved them after the bombs went off in April.
Fucarile, who is still working towards getting a permanent prosthetic and is in a wheelchair, stood, despite his disability, and spoke about the importance of Spaulding’s rehab unit.
“It was very inspiring when Marc took the podium,” Kelly said. “People attempted to move the microphone down for him, but he refused, and stood up proudly. Roseanne did, too.”Jasper Craven can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jasper_Craven