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Marc Fucarile 1 Year Later: Life begins anew with small steps, one big plunge

Marc Fucarile can't stop moving these days. That's considerable progress considering he was "blown up and on fire" last Patriots' Day and lost his right leg following the second blast near the Boston Marathon finish line.

"I've been doing a lot, doing too much. It's really hurting," he told The OBF Blog Thursday night. Fucarile was the final bombing survivor released from the hospital, leaving on July 24. He initially spent 45 nights at Massachusetts General Hospital and 55 at Spaulding Rehabilitation Center. He's had "20-25" surgeries and about 55 other outpatient procedures. He had surgery to aid in the fitting of his first prosthetic leg in October, but that ultimately proved futile. A second prosthetic leg was fitted in February and after some swelling seems to be finally working.

"I'm still in a wheelchair about 75 percent of the time," he said. "I donít take pain medication. I don't like that stuff around the house. I donít like the way it makes me feel." The pain, he said, "100 percent" reminds him that he's still alive.

Get The Duck Boats Ready

For instance, his itinerary Thursday included: taking his son, Gavin, to school, a trip to Dunkin' Donuts, about 90 minutes of physical rehab, a stop by his office, a visit to cheer up a friend recently diagnosed with colon cancer, a stop to help honor Wounded Warriors at the Irish-American Club in Malden, a trip back home to his Reading apartment to change, shower and shave, a ride from his Reading home to Fenway Park and a couple of hours with an ESPN film crew, dinner at Jerry Remy's [neither ESPN nor the Red Sox picked up the tab] and then back home to put Gavin, 6, to bed, chat on the phone and then, watch the Red Sox until he would eventually head off to bed.

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Thursday's hectic schedule is only a prelude to the next 10 days for Fucarile, which will be highlighted by his wedding to seven-year fiancee Jennifer Regan inside the EMC Club at Fenway Park at 4 p.m. Thursday following a Duck Boat ride from the Hotel Commonwealth.

Saturday morning, he was back at the finish line taking place in a photo shoot for Sports Illustrated.

Among the other items on his schedule: the one-year Marathon anniversary ceremony at the Hynes Convention Center Tuesday with other survivors of the bombings and victim families; the BAA 5K race on Sat., April 19, a special pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park on Sunday, April 20 [no word on if he'll part of the group throwing out the first pitch]; and, finally, a trip to the Marathon finish line on April 21 to be there in support of the hundreds of family and friends that are running in his honor.

"I donít want to be part of any of that near the finish line, but people are taking their time to run in honor of me, I just want to be part of this for them and be there when they cross the line. If they were not running, I wouldn't be there. No chance. My friends, my family, the people from Spaulding and MGH, they're sacrificing their time and energy Ė weíre honored to have them running it."

ESPN will air an "E:60 Presents Dream On: Stories from Bostonís Strongest" special featuring Fucarile on Tuesday. During the show you'll likely see Jen and Gavin run the bases at Fenway Park while Fucarile stands [no wheelchair at least on camera] at home plate and watches them with a smile. While millions will watch his real life 'comeback story' story on this Disney-owned network, his real-life dream wedding [you can check out their registry here] will be held in front of only 150 people due to the EMC Club's capacity.

"We had to cut down from 300 people. Iíve got a lot of people who are pissed. When I get off the phone with you, I have to call some of them," he said. Fucarile proposed to Regan seven years ago but "she couldn't commit to a date."

"You know how it is. Excuse after excuse: 'Iím not marrying you until you finish school, not going to plan a wedding with a newborn baby, etc,'" he said within earshot of Regan. "We started planning in February of 2013 but then I got blown up." Plans for the wedding resumed last summer. Through "Love Runs Through Boston", they won an all-expenses paid wedding for 75 valued at $65,000, but were allowed to expand the guest list to 150. "We were going to get married on an island, a beach or Fenway Park. Once we found out it was [the reception] would be at the Hotel Commonwealth, I told Jen 'we're getting married at Fenway Park somehow.'"

Justice Elizabeth Gemelli will perform the ceremony.

It will undoubtedly be his best moment since last Patriots' Day.

"Watching Jen walk down that aisle, that will be the highlight," he said. "To be here and be lucky for what I have. Just meeting so many people and seeing the amount of amazing people out there, and their generosity, has been so inspirational. The support is what keeps me going, strangers, friends, family. If it weren't for them, the support of complete strangers and loved ones, this would be a different story. Iíd be mad, angry and a lot more pissed off."

Fucarile, whose story has been shared on the OBF Blog here and here in the past, admits feeling a sense of obligation to not quit on himself because of everyone who has offered their support. "I donít want to let my family down, my son, fiancee, my parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles. I also don't want to let my new family down."

He speaks bluntly and without apology when it comes to the fate of the surviving accused bomber, who is facing the death penalty.

"I'm OK with whatever happens to that guy," he said. "If you do this in our country, we should be able to kill you. The death penalty is too easy, but thatís what we have. He should literally be stoned [to death.]"

"There's no forgiveness, never in a million years. They killed an little innocent boy, they killed a cop in his cruiser. This was something we did not choose to engage in. Theyíre just complete cowards. If a guy is doing something wrong at work and something tragic happens, you forgive that. But not for what he did to [the Richard] family, their little daughter, Jane, and my son. She should not have to be dealing with that. My son should not have to be dealing with this."

'It was like [expletive] they got me..'

The low points for Fucarile have been far too frequent, going back to last Patriots Day.

"I remember that first bomb going off like it was yesterday. I could see it. The second bomb, I didn't see it. I looked up. Then I was on my back. Nothing was right. My head was shaking. Things were grey," he recalled Thursday. "There were noises, yelling and screaming.I couldn't move. I knew that they got me. I remember that clear as day. I knew it was bad I could hear the commotion and I couldn't move."

"It was like [expletive] they got me. I was fighting to keep my eyes open. People were panicking around me. I grabbed the people next to me and said: 'I don't want to die, I have a fiancee and a son.' They said 'you won't die.' Usually it's it's like: 'You're all right,' but they were saying: 'You won't die.' That's serious. Then someone said: 'Oh [expletive], heís on fire!' I was sitting there here and my pants were smouldering so I had to get them pulled off. You know youíre pretty banged up when youíre still on fire."

He could not clearly recall if he had seen the bombers or not before the blasts. One recollection came to him but only after his early surgeries and countless doses of pain medication.

Fucarile happened to be Boylston Street at 2:50 p.m. on April 15 because he was with a group of friends from Stoneham, cheering on a pal in the race. Regan did not want him to go to the race that day. Fucarile was among several in the group who were injured, including brothers Paul and J.P. Norden, who each lost a leg.

Fucarile is still wrestling with guilt because of all the emotional pain, financial cost, trauma and distress his injury has caused his fiancee, son and family to endure. "I'm still dealing with it," he admitted. "Jen doesnít hold me responsible for anything. I do. She had asked me not to go, there are so many other things I could have done that day."

#BostonStrong

BostonStrongFlag.jpgEven though the one-year anniversary of the bombings is Tuesday, Fucarile's calendar has been stuck in mostly park for much of the past 12 months. He carried the Bruins' "Boston Strong" flag before Game 4 against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, along with Jen and Gavin, onto the TD Garden ice. The Bruins lost that contest 6-5 in overtime. Fucarile also suffered shrapnel wounds throughout his body, second- and third-degree burns, partial permanent hearing loss and "a little brain damage," he said. He's got several surgical procedures ahead, including operations on both ears.

Like those who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, Fucarile, the four who died [allegedly] at the hands of the Brothers Grim and the more than 260 others who were injured last Patriots Day were all victims in whatever passes for the War on Terror these days. Of course, in their case, they didn't volunteer for anything.

In March, Fucarile spent "A Weekend To Remember with more than 30 wounded veterans who were honored in Texas, where he did some skydiving and hunting. He was a guest of honor at NASCAR's Sylvania 300 in New Hampshire last September. He's also been focused on trying to "pay it forward," working with various charitable groups and telling his story to offer inspiration to others.

"Feels like a couple of weeks, not a year. Iím still going through surgery. I'm just getting up now. I'm just starting to learn how to use my prosthetic leg. I'm still in a ton of pain. It hasn't even begun to be over for me," he said of his recovery. "Some people still have phantom pain in leg. There are so many others dealing with so much pain, I'm not the only one. I'm not even back to work. I'm still dealing with surgeries Ė two weeks here, three weeks there, wait a month, get another thing done. It's crazy. Everyone tells he how painful this ear surgery is going to be and I still have two of them. They're not going to help he with my hearing, they will just help prevent infections and flu. It sucks, I have to go through pain to protect myself from infection."

"It feels like we have the whole world on our side."

Fucarile and his family are navigating his new-found fame/infamy and all the trappings that have come with it with minimal outside help. His dealings with the various foundations that have raised money for the bombing survivors and the families of the fallen often created mixed emotions of frustration and gratitude.

"Most of the money is getting through to me and the others," he said. "Itís weird. Thereís a lot of red tape. There are so many funds we donít even know about. You look at some of these funds and foundations and it is all administrative bulls--it and rent. I donít know if any of it gets to us. For instance, there was an insurance fund set up to cover costs not paid for by insurance, but my insurance has covered my costs, so that money is just sitting in a fund. Who knows what is going to happen to it. Now are theyígoing to use it for something else? There's a lot of baloney behind it. Itís all rumors and 'he said, she said.'"

Fucarile received $1.1 million from The One Fund because he is classified a single amputee, even though he may eventually have to lose his left foot, which continues to cause him medical problems and pain.

He called The One Fund's chief administrator Kenneth Feinberg "an idiot."

"They didnít give me or any other victims compensation for damaged limbs or partial hearing loss," he said. "If youíre compensating someone for hearing loss, compensate everyone for hearing loss. If you compensate one amputee, compensate every amputee. If you compensate a guy a $985,000 because his left leg is a mess, you should give everyone the same."

Fucarile cited the plight of the Richard family often in this interview. They lost their son, Martin, in the first blast. Martin's sister Jane, now 8, recently debuted her new 'Cheetah' leg and was a guest of honor at Opening Day at Fenway Park last week. "Sheís going to live an additional 30 years longer than me, she should have been paid more because of that," he said.

Fucarile and his family have established their own Help Marc Fucarile gofundme.com page, which has generated more than $185,000 in contributions and request that any donations intended for him be made there. They also received $240,000 in proceeds from t-shirts sales sponsored by Barstool Sports Boston.

His frustration with the inevitable bureaucracies caused by such organizations like The One Fund is dwarfed by his gratitude to everyone who has donated in the wake of Marathon attacks.

"The generosity of the world overrules that screw-up. They owe the people who donated the money to get it right. They got screwed out of the deal because of their generosity. People worked hard for that money and donated it . Iím honored to have what I have and are appreciative for what I have. Everyone has been so wonderful to us. That's what keeps me doing. These people are just so amazing," Fucarile said.

"It feels like we have the whole world on our side."


The OBF Blog is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros. Got a news tip, want to let him know directly what you think, have a complaint or compliment about his "aggressively relevant" content or hate people who speak about themselves in the third person, hit him up on his Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or hit him on at his
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