“Yes, we like the Yankees, but today we’re all rooting for Boston.” I remember reading this caption when I was a junior in high school. During that time, I was daydreaming about starting the next chapter of my life — college — in arguably the best college town in the nation: Boston. I remember going through Brandeis’ virtual campus tour and looking up Boston College’s club teams.
This caption was underneath a cartoon that was featured in The New Yorker. It was just days after the Boston Marathon bombing and it stuck with me ever since.
Adrianne Haslet-Davis was one of the hundreds of people at the finish line cheering on the fatigued marathon runners. She was also one of the more than 260 people who were wounded when the two bombs went off Apr. 15 2013. She lost her left leg, below the knee, in the second explosion. She was a professional ballroom dancer.
Since that terrible day, however, Haslet-Davis has gotten a carbon fiber prosthetic leg and has resumed her career of ballroom dance. She joined her brothers and ran the final blocks of the Marathon in 2014 and foxtrotted across the finish line in 2015. She’s planning on running the Boston Marathon in its entirety in 2016.
Haslet-Davis confessed that she is not a born runner. That being said, she has been in training to work up to 10 of the 26.2 miles of the marathon. This is not only a test of physical stamina, but also of mental resilience. What makes this year’s marathon so special is that when she crosses the finish line, she will be raising money and awareness for Limbs for Life. This global nonprofit organization’s mission is to provide fully functional prosthetics for those who cannot otherwise afford them.
“I knew it would be powerful if I were able to do that — not only for myself but for other amputees who are saying, ‘I can’t do this or that,’” she told The New York Times.
“Boston Strong.” It was an empowering saying that was born from tragedy. Even as I walked through the Center City district in Philly, I remember seeing street vendors selling hats and towels that said “Boston Strong.” Over a year later, I would be starting the next chapter of my life in Boston. I would be nervous and a little scared as I felt like a little blue dot in a sea of red. But it wasn’t until I arrived that I truly felt how strong and mighty this little city is.
“Back in 2013, I vowed to dance again and made a pledge to run the Boston Marathon. I’ve since danced, and on Apr. 18 2016, I will make good on that promise,” Haslet-Davis told the AP. “I knew it would be powerful if I were able to do that — not only for myself but for other amputees who are saying, ‘I can’t do this or that.’”