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The 126th annual Boston Marathon took place this past weekend, marking nine years since the tragic bombing at that event.
Marc Fucarile, a survivor of that bombing on April 15, 2013, told Fox News Digital in an interview this week that the ongoing tradition of the Boston Marathon is “amazing,” while also cautioning that both participants and attendees should always remain aware.
“Stay vigilant,” he said. “Stay aware of your surroundings … Just be vigilant.”
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Fucarile specifically shouted out the supporters of marathon runners. He said he’d received that same kind of support from family and friends throughout his long recovery — plus from complete strangers on the day of the bombing.
That Marathon Monday in 2013, Fucarile was in attendance in support of a friend who had just retired from the U.S. Marine Corps.
Then the bombs went off.
“The second bomb went off, and I was instantly amputated [at] the right leg above the knee and burned all over,” he said about the terrible injuries he suffered that day.
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Fucarile said a few people helped put out the burning flames on his clothing.
He also credited police officer Jimmy Davis and off-duty nurse Kayla Quinn with saving his life.
“My recovery was long with many surgeries, skin grafts and hard decisions about whether or not to amputate my second leg.”
Fucarile described what happened to him on his website: “I was just feet away from the second bomb when it went off. The power of the blast immediately took my right leg above the knee and nearly my left leg. I woke up in the hospital missing my right leg, fighting to keep the left leg, covered in burns with shrapnel lodged in my body and in my heart.”
He added, “My recovery was long with many surgeries, skin grafts and hard decisions about whether or not to amputate my second leg. I had to continue my fight for 3 years to keep my left leg, and one of those years consisted of living in Bethesda, Maryland, at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.”
After several years of doctors’ visits, surgeries and struggles to heal, he was left to carry on with a salvaged left leg and shrapnel embedded in his heart.
In 2016 and 2017, Fucarile returned to the scene of the marathon — this time participating as a hand cycler.
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He said he wanted to show his young son that “you can pretty much do anything you want.”
“It was a great experience,” he said. “The support — that’s what it pretty much comes down to. That’s where I am today because of support.”
“We’re going to fight. Because those people fought for me.”
As Fucarile also shares on his website, “I am dedicating myself to uplifting others by sharing my message of true grit, the power of positivity and not letting yesterday’s hardships get in the way of today’s victories.”
The survivor of the bombing reiterated that his decision to return to the site where he nearly lost his life was fueled by those who make up his support system.
“I did it for everybody who supported me,” he said.
“To show them that we’re not going to lay down and feel bad for ourselves. We’re going to get up. We’re going to fight. Because those people fought for me.”
“They didn’t give up on me,” he said. As a result, he added, “I’m not going to give up.”
Fucarile commended the Boston Marathon for its contributions to the B.A.A. Charity Program. The Boston Athletic Association provides select nonprofit organizations with entries into the Boston Marathon, which are used to raise millions of dollars for worthwhile causes, according to its website.
“It’s a great cause,” he said. “It’s a great foundation. It’s a great charity … It’s an amazing accomplishment for the runners.”
By living the mantra of never giving up, Fucarile is focusing on his family, on growing his brand as a motivational speaker and on sporting “Boston Strong” T-shirts, which are available at marcfucarile.com.
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Fucarile also shares this note of inspiration on his website: He says that he’s now completed 8 full marathons on a handcycle — plus he’s gone skydiving and had “so many more amazing experiences and accomplishments.”
“We are only limited by the things that we allow to limit us,” he tells others.