During Pride Weekend, Boston Marathon Bombing Survivors Visit, Show Support To Orlando Shooting Survivors

Connected by tragedy, bonded through strength. On Saturday several of the survivors from the traumatic and terrible acts of terrorism that was the Boston Marathon Bombing paid a hospital visit to some of the victims from the equally inexplicable mass shooting that occurred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando earlier this month.

The survivors of the two unimaginable acts of terror are finding healing in the unity of Boston Strong and Orlando Strong. It is a tight-knit community, those who not only lived after a senseless tragedy, but who survived it. They survived a tragedy that, The Orlando Sentinel says is the kind that is not supposed to happen “there,” not at a marathon, nor at the movies, in a school, and not supposed to happen in a nightclub.

Ten of those wounded in 2013, when two pressure-cooker bombs were planted at the finish line of a marathon in Boston, made the trip to Orlando this weekend, along with some of their service dogs, to show their support to the eight patients still healing at Orlando Regional Medical Center. Three people died and 200 were injured in the Boston Marathon Bombing. The shooting at Pulse nightclub took place on the night of June 12, when a gunman armed with an assault rifle opened fire in the club, killing 49 and wounding 53 others before police were forced to kill the gunman as well. It was the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. They are forever bonded, a family who lends their strength when needed.

They say that they came to show that there is life beyond the tragedy, to show that they are happy and that hope exists even in the darkest of times. Sydney Corcoran, who learned to walk again after the bombing severed a femoral artery and blew a hole in her foot, assured a recuperating Angel Colon, shot three times by the gunman in the nightclub, of the bond and strength they all share now.

“You are Orlando Strong, we are Boston Strong. We are family.”

Celeste Corcoran, Sydney’s mother, became a double amputee after the Boston Marathon Bombing, but told those now fighting at Orlando Regional Medical Center to get their lives and health back, that none of these acts of terror and hate have planted any seed of fear and hatred within her.

“People who try and spread hate, it does the exact opposite. It brings together strangers, and we are more tolerant of people. There’s post-traumatic stress, and it helps to talk with someone who has been through similar situations.”

According to KTLA, of the eight Orlando shooting survivors still hospitalized at Orlando Regional Medical Center, Orlando Health reported that five are in stable condition, but three remain critical. The hospital’s surgeons have performed 61 operations since the massacre, treating 44 victims from the Pulse shooting.

The service dogs who came with the survivors of the Boston Marathon Bombing, Sebastian, Koda and Zealand, also helped pay a visit to Rodney Sumter, who was a bartender at the gay nightclub. The Orlando shooting victim was shot three times, once in each of his arms and another in his back only half an inch from his spine, when he was unable to escape the spray of bullets. Sumter now reportedly has plans to visit Boston, especially since he received an invite from Boston Marathon survivors Eliza Gedney, who was burned at the attack in Boston, and Michelle L’Heureu, who was damaged by shrapnel, to join them for the next Boston Marathon.

All of them have survived unthinkable horrors.

The visit from the Boston Marathon Bombing survivors to the Orlando victims has actually coincided with the celebration of pride weekend in a number of major cities in countries all over the world from New York to Manila. This year’s pride event has taken on a special significance, sending a message of love and unity as rainbow flags and vibrant parades symbolically reject the discrimination and violence that many lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons are forced to endure.

Corcoran says that these victims, these survivors, will get their lives back, “but they have to choose that.”

[Photo by Esteban Felix/AP Images]