Another great article which appeared in the Providence Journal today:
Newport woman recuperating after surgery
Heather Abbott, 38, said to be "˜in great spirits' after having lower left leg amputated
By RICHARD SALIT JOURNAL STAFF WRITER and ALLEN G. BREED ASSOCIATED PRESS
One day after having surgery to amputate her lower leg, a Newport woman injured in the Boston Marathon bombings said she was recuperating and looking forward to speaking in more detail once doctors give her the OK.
Heather Abbott, 38, answered the telephone in her room Tuesday at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, where she has been a patient since the April 15 terrorist attack severely injured her left foot. She said she felt well enough to speak but that her doctors had advised her to take more time to recover before giving interviews.
"She's doing wonderfully," said Julie Moura, a cousin from Cranston who visited Abbott following her surgery on Monday. "She was in great spirits. We feel like we should be helping her but she's helping all of us."
Abbott, who was rescued by her fast-responding friends and has been visited in the hospital by First Lady Michelle Obama, gave an interview to the Associated Press just before her surgery on Monday.
She recounted attending the traditional Boston Red Sox Patriots Day game with a few friends and afterward going with them to Forum, a pub near the marathon finish line where someone they knew worked. The bombs went off while Abbott was at the rear of a line that spilled out onto the sidewalk on Boylston Street.
While waiting to have her ID checked by bouncers, the first of the two bombs exploded. She was scrambling to get off the sidewalk when the second explosion seconds later knocked her down.
"I felt like I was watching the footage on 9/11," said Abbott, who immediately suspected terrorism.
When she tried to get up, her left foot felt "as if it were on fire."
"Somebody please help me," she called out in the midst of the chaos.
She'd begun to give up hope when a woman walked up and began dragging her toward the door, quietly reciting a Catholic prayer as she tugged.
"Hail Mary, full of grace "¦ ," the woman intoned.
The woman pulled Abbott a few feet when a burly man stepped in, picked her up and carried her out the back door into an alley. She would later learn it was former Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham, there to help former teammates raise money for offensive guard Joe Andruzzi's cancer foundation.
Then her friends arrived at her side.
"Please give her to me," said Jason Geremia.
After the linebacker lay Abbott on the ground and rushed off to help others, Alfred Colonese, of Newport, took some extreme lifesaving measures. He took off his belt and used it as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
The friends were preparing to carry Abbott out when a medic appeared and told them not to move her. Soon, rescuers appeared with a gurney and wheeled her outside. Ab-bott couldn't look at her foot, but as she glanced back she couldn't help but see a trail of her own blood.
In the ambulance, Abbott, who is single, had the paramedics call her parents, Rosemary and Dale Abbott, of Lincoln. She was rushed into surgery to treat her severely injured ankle and foot, the first of several operations . The last one was her decision.
She had been told that if she kept her foot, it would likely not heal fully and result in chronic pain. Her option was amputation several inches below the knee and a prosthetic that would likely allow her to return to some of her favorite sports, including aerobics, running and paddle-boarding.
"It sounded to me like the best-case scenario," she said.
"She's my hero," said her father, his voice cracking with emotion. "She's stronger than I am. I'm constantly having meltdowns and she knows what has to be done."
Doctors said she would be fitted with a temporary prosthetic about four weeks after the surgery.
Before the operation, Abbott said she had not reflected much on the alleged bombers, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
"People have let me know the second one was caught," she said, "and I don't think I've really begun to process how that makes me feel yet."
As to whether the surviving brother, Dzhokhar, should face the death penalty, she said, "I just haven't really even gone to that place yet in my head. I don't feel the anger that I'm sure I will at some point."
Abbott was born and raised in Lincoln, graduating from Lincoln High School in 1992. She went to Stonehill College and later earned a master's degree in business from Providence College. Before taking her job at Raytheon, she worked for Roger Williams University and Cintas.
Abbott has been surrounded in her hospital room every day with friends and family, just as she was when Michelle Obama posed for a picture with all of them three days after the bombing.
"They are all coping together," said Moura. "It was pretty horrific."
Moura and her sister, Jessica Zanni, started an online fundraiser for their cousin, an only child, at www.gofundme.com/HeatherAb
"‰ bott"‰ .
"It will be a long road ahead for Heather, and we are hoping to relieve some of the impending financial burden by raising funds in her name," reads the website. "This will allow Heather to focus all of her energy on getting better. Please share this page with your friends and donate to help Heather and her family during this very difficult time."
Meanwhile, Newport is rallying around Abbott, who moved several years ago to the downtown area and likes to walk to its restaurants and nightspots. A fundraiser with live music will be held at the Dockside, on Sunday from 2 p.m. to closing. The suggested donation is $20.