BOSTON (CBS) – Five years after the Boston Marathon bombing, survivors and family members gathered to honor the life of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier. Marking five years since the attack has made this year even more emotional.

The theme of Wednesday night’s event was “Stronger After 5”. It was a celebration of the city’s resiliency, and the overwhelming good that has come from such evil. Connected by terror, survivors turned family are now the picture of triumph.

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Heather Abbott and Dic Donohue (WBZ-TV)

“It’s a tough time of year, it certainly is. There’s tragedy to look back upon,” Dic Donohue said.

Retired Transit officer Dic Donohue, who was nearly killed in the Watertown shootout, set out to celebrate their accomplishments and joys, five years later.

Jeff Bauman (WBZ-TV)

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“Starting the Heather Abbott foundation has allowed me a way to heal by being able to give back and help other amputees,” said Heather Abbott. “We have raised $800,000, we’ve given out 19 prosthetic devices in nine different states.”

“It’s been a roller coaster,” said Jeff Bauman. “I’m still here. That’s what matters. I’ve got to live my life to the fullest. I have a daughter who’s three, almost four. She’s the light of my life.”

The fundraising event supports the Sean Collier Memorial Fund – which benefits aspiring police officers, fallen heroes’ families, and underprivileged kids.

MIT Police Officer Sean Collier. (Photo credit: U.S. Attorney’s Office)

“I think he’d be really proud of it,” said Jennifer Lemmerman, Sean’s sister. “We’re really proud of it. We’re thankful for it. If he’s not here doing it himself we’re glad he’s had the effect of causing it to continue after his death.”

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In just the past year since creating the fund, the family has donated $50,000 to those causes close to Sean Collier’s heart.

Juli McDonald