BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Four friends, all injured while standing at the Marathon finish line last year, rally around their friend who lost her leg that same day. And they've found a way to support her, by doing what she used to love doing best: running.
Their enthusiasm for life is contagious. It is nothing short of remarkable. They are so upbeat when you consider what they've been through this past year. Or maybe that's why they're this way, because they are just appreciative to be alive.
Last year, five young women, Sabrina Dellorusso, Alissa Ward, Megan Lawrence, Jenna Dziedzic and Roseann Sdoia stood at the Marathon finish line in front of Forum cheering on other friends.
"We were all kinda standing together lined up, you know, kinda shoulder to shoulder," Dziedzic said.
Dellorusso, Ward, Lawrence and Dziedzic all suffered traumatic brain injuries from the sheer force of the explosion knocking them to the ground and literally rattling their brains inside their skulls. And the deafening sound of the explosion was reportedly similar to the volume level of a space shuttle launch and it left the thirty-somethings with serious hearing loss.
"I lost the majority of my ear drum," Dziedzic said.
"It's like having a fluorescent lamp next to your ear constantly," Lawrence said.
She went on to say, "It was extremely difficult right after the marathon because it was kind of a constant reminder of what had happened and there's no known cure for it medically, but I'm learning to cope with it and not have it be a negative trigger."
And then there's the girls' mutual friend Sdoia. She just happened to be standing two feet closer to the bomb than the rest of the girls. Just two feet in this case meant the difference between keeping limbs or losing them.
"It was like pop, pop and it seemed to be at my feet. It just popped up and then it was just a bad movie scene after that," Sdoia said.
She is alive, but her right leg had to be amputated above her knee. It was an especially devastating blow because she loved to run, especially in charity races. In fact, she's the one who got the other girls into running.
"She pushed me, she kept telling me I could do it even though I'd never run before in my life," Dziedzic said.
"She was always an advocate for c'mon let's sign up let's do this, or, you know ‘they have free beer after this one,'" Dellorusso said.
And the day before last year's marathon Sdoia and two of the girls ran the Boston Athletic Association's 5k, one of the pre-marathon events. It would be the last time Sdoia would run on her own two feet.
"You know Roseann finished first, as she always does," Dellorusso said.
It's left the other girls with feelings of guilt, anger and confusion. Why of all people did this have to happen to her? The one in their group, who loved being active, who loved to push her body to its fullest potential?
It's also shattered their sense of security. They hyper vigilance feels like it will never go away. They are startled at the slightest of noises, but they all have made a decision to stare fear right in the face. Not only are they going to return to this year's marathon, they're running, for Sdoia.
"I'm scared, I'm nervous, you know it's always in the back of my mind," Dellorusso said.
"I just want her to be able to build from some of the strength that we might have," Ward said.
Sabrina Dellorusso, Alissa Ward, Megan Lawrence, Jenna Dziedzic
Ward and Dziedzic will run the 5k, Lawrence and Dellorusso, the full marathon. And all of the money raised will go right back to Sdoia to help her with her medical bills.
It will be bitter sweet knowing Sdoia should be leading the pack, still it's a way they can help her continue her passion until she can run again on her own.
"She'll be back there running with us. I have no doubt about that whatsoever," Ward said.
"We're here for her. That's it. You know, we can't change the past, but we can try and make the future better," Dellorusso said.
When the girls do cross the finish line on Marathon Monday, Sdoia ‘s not sure if she'll be able to be there with them. But she has been with them every step of the way throughout this journey.
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