Community From Tragedy [National Conference Recap]

Courtesy of Shannon Jack, Ohio Northern University

Special Session: Community From Tragedy: The Story of the Boston Marathon Bombing

Presenters: T.K. Skenderian, Boston Athletic Association, Heather Abbott, Marathon Survivor


In this session, we gained a first-hand perspective on the tragedies that struck the Boston community on April 15, 2013 and how from a tragedy can rise a new-meaning. While communicating during these times is essential, the greatest importance lies in knowing who to communicate to and when not to communicate.

Heather Abbott found herself injured, hospitalized and lost her leg. Soon afterwards, she agreed to a press conference. While overwhelming at times, she found herself surrounded by a world of support. During her recovery, Abbott was given the opportunity to meet Aviva Drescher who showed her the loss of her leg was not the loss of the life she wanted to have. While adjusting to her prosthetic legs, she was given the opportunity to meet Beyoncé who inspired her to keep pushing on.

The creation of “The One Fund” provided Heather with six different prosthetic legs. She decided to give back to those less fortunate than herself. In creating the Heather Abbott Foundation, she has been able to provide victims of trauma prosthetic legs they would have otherwise been without.

In the year that followed, the Boston Marathon was able to give back to their community and honor those affected by the tragedy. The marathon was bigger than ever and included ways for everyone to participate. It featured many tribute events leading up to the run and a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m. for those affected.


  • Find the people to whom you have the greatest responsibility
  • There is a time not to say anything
  • Find sense in the senseless

Jasmine Larsen is a junior at the University of Cincinnati studying Communications with Public Relations and Digital Engagement, where she serves as the Chapter Vice President of PRSSA. Jasmine is the Digital Communications Manager at Heritage Events and is working with Constella Arts on the production of their 7th annual festival. Continue the conversation with her on Twitter: @jasmineelarsen 

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