BOSTON (CBS) — As we approach two years after the Boston Marathon bombing, it is remarkable to realize how far so many victims have come in their recovery — and how much money is being raised for charities and other good causes.
Gillian Reny calls herself lucky, despite a devastating injury she suffered on April 15, 2013. As the 18-year-old Gillian waited with her family for his sister to cross the finish line, her lower legs were badly damaged when one of the two bombs went off.
But Reny has had an incredible recovery over the last two years.
“I’m feeling great,” Reny recently told WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben. “I feel like this year I’ve made a big leap in my recovery.”
In fact, Gillian recently stopped to have a friend record a quick run and leap for joy. It was a small victory for Reny.
Out of gratitude, her family has established The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund for medical research that will help people she may never know.
“It was just a devastating situation and to see where she is today is truly remarkable,” said Gillian’s mother, Audrey Reny. “And it’s because of the incredible doctors we were so fortunate to come into contact with.”
Doctors like Dr. Matthew Carty, who received the first $100,000 grant from the fund as a show of the the Reny’s gratitude for the care Gillian received. His research on next-generation prosthetics will be a game-changer.
“The prosthetics now have the ability to receive information, but we haven’t been able to figure out how to connect the brain to give the information to the prosthetics,” said Carty. “So we’re working on a way of essentially creating the plug that you’re able to insert in to the new prosthetic to make it do things we want it to do.”
“He’s brilliant and I know he’s going to do something great with the money that he got,” said Gillian.
After everything she has been through, Gillian says it’s amazing to know that someone who has experienced similar trauma will benefit from her experience.
“I can only hope that each and every one of them is someday able to receive something from the work [Dr. Carty] is doing,” she said. “That would mean a lot to me.”
The Stepping Strong Fund has raised close to $4 million in one year, and 5,000 people in all 50 states and 36 countries were involved in voting for the grant that went to Dr. Carty.
The Renys hope to endow the program to provide cutting edge research for trauma care for years to come.