Patrick and Jessica Downes were two of the people to suffer severe injuries at the Boston Marathon on Monday. The newlyweds, who were married last August, each lost a leg below the knee in the explosions.
In the aftermath, friends and relatives set up a GiveForward site for people to donate money to help with the couple's rehabilitation and medical expenses. In just a few days, over $430,000 has been donated. Also pouring in: messages of support from both friends and strangers.
One anonymous well-wisher posted the following:
Dear Patrick and Jess, My daughter graduated from BC in 2004. The beautiful picture of you two reminds me of her and her husband. My heart breaks for you and all the others affected by this tragedy, but your faith and love for each other will sustain you and make you stronger than ever. Please know that there are countless people who are thinking of you and sending healing thoughts your way. Sincerely, A California BC mom
The couple's GiveForward site received so many hits that it crashed on Thursday, according to NBC News. Jessica, a nurse at Massachusetts General, is described as funny, selfless and introspective. Patrick is a Boston native who, according to the GiveForward page, cried tears of joy when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. He was nicknamed "Jesus" in high school "for his goodness," according to the site.
"She has the spirit of a lion, and combined with Patrick's good (the most good!) heart and interminable support for his wife," the site 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."
The families of Jessica and Patrick posted an update thanking all those who have already donated:
Your support in just 24 hours is overwhelming, there are no words to describe what your outpouring of kindness and generosity means to our family as Patrick and Jess start their long road to recovery.
At this point, we do not know what all the costs associated with Patrick and Jess's full recovery will be (between prosthetics and home modifications, etc.), but we want them to have enough to not worry about the financial implications of what has happened. We've increased the fundraising goal and if we raise more money than Patrick and Jess need, we have no doubt that they will be conscious of the other people affected by all of this.
For many of us, Monday's events shook our faith in humanity. But a quick look at the outpouring of support from friends and strangers -- both in the immediate aftermath and now here on this site -- restores it.
The Downes and Kensky Family
Watch the most recent video on the manhunt related to the Boston Bombings: