In Boston Marathon aftermath, community attempts to provide support

Christopher Evans/Boston Herald/MCT

People pray during an interfaith candlelight service at the Paulist Center Boston on Tuesday. The city is in mourning today for three killed and at least 144 wounded in the bombing at the Boston Marathon.

Cat Zakrzewski, Campus Editor
April 16, 2013 •

Kielo Sauvala said she had “a good race all the way” until she was about 120 meters away from the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday.

“I heard people screaming, but I kept running,” said the 56 year-old member of the Evanston Running Club. “And then the second bomb exploded, I just looked around a little bit. It is so horrible. I remember all the blood.”

Sauvala said she realized her own legs were scraped from shrapnel, but she was not concerned with her own pain.

“I was thinking of the other ones that lost their legs and limbs,” she said. “Then we had to start running the opposite direction where we came from. I never crossed the finish line.”

Sauvala said her injury was minor, and she had her cuts cleaned at a nearby hotel. However, the shock remains for her and other members of the Northwestern and Evanston communities rocked by the deadly explosions.

The Daily reported Monday that 19 runners from Evanston were registered for the Boston Marathon, including one NU student who left the marathon safely prior to the explosions. Nancy Rollins, who coaches Wednesday workouts for the ERC, said at least 15 members of the club participated in the marathon.

Rollins, 66, finished in second place for her age group. She said she realized what had happened when she returned to her hotel room. The race was her 67th marathon, and she said she could not believe the attack happened at an event that is typically “wonderful.”

“The contrast of those two things is heartbreaking,” Rollins said. “We’re still absorbing it.”

The Evanston runners are not the only community members still reeling from the event. University officials sent statements to students today to express their shock.

“It was a startling and powerful reminder of the fragility of life and how things can change in literally an instant,” President Morton Schapiro wrote in an email to students Tuesday.

Schapiro confirmed that as of Tuesday, the University had not received word that any members of the NU community were hurt in the deadly explosion.

At least two marathon attendees in Boston when the bombs detonated had NU connections. McCormick senior Richard Barbera, president of the Northwestern Triathlon Club, had finished the marathon and was about two blocks away eating at a restaurant at the time of the incident. A doctor from the Feinberg School of Medicine, who specializes in working with marathon runners, was also at the marathon. University officials said the doctor is safe but unavailable for comment.

As of Tuesday night, the University had not organized any response to Monday’s tragedy. University Chaplain Tim Stevens said he was in discussions with various religious groups about a memorial or vigil for the victims, but no plans were finalized. He said at Sunday’s chapel service, there will be a moment of silence for the victims. He expects many other religious communities on campus will follow suit.

“If there’s a felt need to come together as a community, the office of the University chaplain would be ready to assist students and others,” Stevens said.

‘Cats Care, an emergency response student group established in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, is still researching ways to provide support, said Brad Stewart, ASG executive vice president, in an email to The Daily.

On Tuesday night, Todd Adams, dean of students, sent an email to students reminding them of resources available to assist them, including his office, the Chaplain’s Office and Counseling and Psychological Services.

“Many in our community have been affected by the tragedy in Boston yesterday,” Adams wrote. “While the events that occurred were in Massachusetts, we know that the geographic proximity of friends, family and neighbors can bring events closer to home.”

Now home in Evanston, Sauvala said she knows she will move on from the trauma through emotional support. She said she has been overwhelmed by the messages she has received from family and friends and said she won’t let fear prevent her from participating in future marathons, including the Boston Marathon again next year.

“I’m not giving up this part of life to the terrorists,” she said. “I’m not giving up running because of this. … I will get over it.”

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