Hope. Inspiration. Support. That's what Marines who lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan provided to amputee victims of the Boston Marathon bombings when they visited BMC April 21. The Marines, members of Semper Fi Fund, a veteran non-profit organization that supports critically injured soldiers, met with five patients who lost limbs.
Semper Fi Fund thanks ED staff for their heroic efforts caring for patients.
“As soon as we heard about the bombings, the Marines were texting me that we had to come to Boston and visit with the amputee victims,” says Karen Guenther, President and Founder, Semper Fi Fund. “They knew they could help.”
The five Marines flew in from around the country and visited with each patient for 30 minutes, answering questions and providing vital reassurance. Will I be able to drive? Can I wear heels with a prosthetic leg? Will I be able to go to the beach and swim in the ocean? Their response to each question: yes.
“I want to be independent,” said one patient who lost both legs through tears. “I don’t want to be in a wheelchair and need my family to take care of me.”
“You are going to go right back to your life,” said a Marine who lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2010. “You will be more independent than you were before.”
The Marines were quick to remove their prosthetic legs and hand them to patients to touch and examine. Smiles and laughter emerged from patients as they bonded with those who know best what they are going through.
“You’re part of a special group now,” one Marine told a patient. “You now have the same badge of honor that we do and celebrate another birthday, what we call our Alive day.”
The Marines also visited with BMC staff, thanking providers for the care they have given to the victims of the Marathon bombings.
“Thank you for everything you did and continue to do,” the Marines told Emergency Department, OR and SICU staff.
“Thank you for what you have done for us,” said one nurse who burst into tears while she hugged a veteran.
The Marines say they will continue to support the patients long after they leave BMC through the Semper Fi Fund.
“They are part of our family and we will support them in every way possible,” says Guenther.