By Joe Stavas, MD
Sickness elbows its way into our lives, sometimes physical or psychological, often unexpected and swooping down completely off guard, affecting us forever. Frequently it is devastating and tragic. I witnessed the strike of sickness and tragedy on April 15, 2013, in Boston during the simplest of all sports, a running race. Immediately after the bombs exploded, the health care system sprung into a response that triaged 90 victims to major medical centers within 30 minutes. Phenomenal is the only way to describe the will power of EMS, Police, Fire, Race officials, volunteers, & bystanders, applying simple ABCs (airway, breathing, circulation) of emergent situations with rapid EMS. A team of heroes saved many lives. But sickness lingers, as do memories, photos, & questions.
A million people came together the morning of 4/15 for an innocent celebration of health: running, walking, happiness, the out-of-doors, relationships, and just doing good things. By early afternoon much had changed.
I returned to Boston 3 weeks later to symbolically cross the finish line on Boylston Street and visit the Copley Square Memorial. The very same vibrant and healthy visceral feel at marathon time was again palpable between everyone I talked to and saw. Closure, healing, and celebration of health had blossomed, and life’s journey, like the 117th Boston, had restarted.
Maureen, Natalie, and Joe Stavas were at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Joe and his daughter Natalie ran the marathon together, their 3rd.