AC360 Producer Chuck Hadad spent a year capturing the inspiring journey of Boston Marathon bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis. Here he talks about how Boston rallied around her after the attack. You can watch “CNN Special Report: The Survivor Diaries” Tuesday, April 8th at 10pm ET on CNN.
Adrianne Haslet-Davis lost her lower left leg in the Boston bombings. She and her husband Adam were just steps away from the second blast and shrapnel tore through both of their bodies. While the couple survived, the damage to Adrianne’s heel and Achilles tendon was so severe, doctors had no choice but to amputate.
“We have been faced with many challenges and our friends have stepped up their game and rocked the pants off of unconditional love, along with our families,” said Adrianne. “Learning … who will support us in our dark hours, it means the world.“
While family and friends formed the backbone of their support system, Adrianne and Adam also credit their hometown of Boston with helping them get through those dark hours. “The city lifted us up,” said Adam. “We’ve met some great people after this who've opened their hearts to us.”
Adrianne and Adam detail their journey as survivors of the Boston bombings in a new documentary titled “The Survivor Diaries,” which premieres on CNN on April 8th at 10 p.m. ET.
From Boston’s sports teams, to the Mayor, to strangers that recognized the couple from television interviews, Adrianne and Adam drew inspiration from people across the city. One night soon after Adrianne was released from the hospital, a man they'd met at a restaurant handed them his medal from a past Boston Marathon. “He ran home and gave me his 2009 marathon medal that he ran 26.2 miles to earn,” said Adrianne. “That he is willing to give it to us speaks volumes on the spirit of Boston.”
Adrianne’s first, of many, experiences in front of a sporting crowd came at a Boston Bruins playoff game. Just weeks after the attacks, before Adrianne had been fitted with a prosthetic leg, the team invited her to wave a “Boston Strong” flag in front of thousands of fans. "I wheeled out onto the ice and they just went crazy and I just felt such an outpouring of support, not just for myself, but for anyone else who had been through (the bombings)," she said.
Adrianne was also invited by the New England Patriots to walk through the tunnel and on to the field with other bombing survivors at the team's opening game of the season. "Since the marathon, I've had a huge outpouring of support from Boston ... and even people all over the world, that have wished both myself and Adam and the other survivors the best of luck," said Adrianne. "Out of that, I've had some pretty amazing opportunities come my way."
While all of Boston's teams reached out in support of bombing survivors, it was the Red Sox that inspired Adrianne and Adam the most. Some players and coaching staff visited them in the hospital in the early days of their recovery. The team had ended 2012 in last place and as the 2013 season progressed, and the Red Sox kept winning, they became a metaphor for the city as a whole – knocked down but ready to fight its way back.
Adam said it was the Red Sox that helped coin the phrase "Boston Strong" – it became a rallying cry that the couple took very much to heart. "We’re not going to let (the bombings) define us. This is not going be the defining moment. It’s the recovery that’s going to be the defining moment. It’s going to be our recovery that’s our story, it’s not going to be the attack."
The Red Sox went on to win the World Series at home and their storied season took on greater meaning in a city already fanatic about baseball. "It feels like we won the World Series ... I feel like we as a city won it," said Adrianne. "It wasn’t just the guys on the field, it felt like all of us were on the field when they won and I think that can only happen in Boston." The couple was honored to be invited to be part of the Red Sox World Series parade.
Beyond the special opportunities extended to Adrianne and Adam, they say it's Boston's sense of community that has had the biggest impact on their recovery. "The bombing has made me love the city more. I think that sounds weird to say out loud but it made me realize how a group of people can come together and fight back with kindness and generosity and outpouring of support," said Adrianne. "It made me realize how much a city can pull together. And what you get from that, what I’ve received from that, is pretty incredible."
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