April 18, 2013

Recently married couple lose legs in marathon attack

The Associated Press

BOSTON — They were married in Boston in August, an unlikely match who fell in love and shared a passion for running.

Monday, watching the Boston Marathon — a race one had run before — the couple each lost a leg after one of the two explosions that killed three and wounded dozens more.

Patrick and Jessica Downes each "sustained amputations below the left knee," according to an email sent to friends. It said Patrick had a successful surgery Wednesday and was out of the intensive care unit. Jessica was in surgery and may be in jeopardy of losing her remaining foot.

A page hosted by GiveForward.com, which helps users create fundraising sites, was established to raise money that will go toward the couple's medical bills and related costs. The site received so many hits it crashed Wednesday, a site spokesman said.

So far, more than $18,000 has been raised for the couple.

The site describes two kind, selfless people who seemed like an unlikely match.

Jessica Downes, 32, is from California, attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and is a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, the site says. She is described as selfless and funny, but tough and confident.

Patrick Downes, 30, is Boston through and through.

"He has that accent that makes it impossible to tell if he's saying 'parking' or 'packing,' he's no more than two degrees of separation from Whitey Bulger (or so he claims), and he cried his eyes out when the Sox finally won the World Series," the site said.

He graduated from Boston College and was "nicknamed 'Jesus' in high school for his goodness," according to the site, which said he had run the marathon before.

"She has the spirit of a lion, and combined with Patrick's good (the most good!) heart and interminable support for his wife," the website says, "I have no doubt in my mind that they will persevere through this horrific time and will soon enough lead happy, normal, fulfilling lives."

 

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