For the first time since Patrick Downes lost his left leg by the finish line in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, he will be running the 26.2 miles alongside his brother and friends to raise money for the “Boston College Strong” Scholarship this coming Monday, April 18.

Downes had been married just a few months when he and his wife Jessica Kensky attended the marathon. Kensky also lost her leg that day, and she later had to amputate her right leg as well. After the injuries in the marathon, the newlyweds began a long journey to recovery with the tremendous support from their family, friends, and the greater Boston community.

April 15 will always remain a day of remembrance and somber for the couple. “But I think the marathon itself is still meant to be a big celebration of our city,” Downes said.

Downes graduated from Boston College in 2005 and four of his friends created the scholarship to honor Downes and his wife for their resilience after suffering injuries in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Once endowed at $250,000, the BC Strong Scholarship will be awarded to deserving Boston College students with disabilities. 

Downes has been running for about a year now. His prosthetist was adding adaptations to the socket and the alignment of the leg up until last week. Even though he says he was nervous about the marathon during training, now he is excited and looking forward to it.

While Downes has been mobile and athletic, his wife’s progress has been much slower. Kensky just recently had a surgery. The stark contrast of their recovery has created some tension in the relationship. “This has been the biggest test of our lives,” said Downes. The two have been attending couple’s therapy to work on their communication.

Downes said even simple things many people take for granted, like taking a shower or taking the dog outside, can be a challenge for both of them. He shared an example about how his wife Jessica recently wanted to quickly get to the bathroom to grab some medication. “She had the instinct to jump up and walk to the bathroom and was so frustrated by having to be reminded that she’s got to climb into a wheelchair and roll in there,” he said, “so there are plenty of moments that are not at all that glorious and are very real.”

Movies are being made and books written about the bombings, which include couple. Recently, Rachel Brosnahan, who had a role on “House of Cards,” and Christopher O’Shea, who’s appeared on the CBS show “Madame Secretary,” joined the cast of “Patriots Day,” one of two movies currently being made about the Boston Marathon bombings, to play the roles of Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky.

Downes thinks it is surreal that they have become the characters in the books and movies, but he can understand people’s fascination with their story. He said what matters the most is starting a larger conversation about how to prevent terrorism or what to do when it strikes.

“How do we take care of people such as Jess and myself and all the others on Boylston street?” Downes asked.

Downes and Kensky have been following the recent terrorism attacks in Brussels, Paris, Pakistan, and elsewhere in the world. Every time it happens, they feel like it’s happening to them again. Downes understands the road ahead of the survivors and the terror that the community feels. “All we want to do is go and give them a big hug. So many people did that to us,” he said.

The couple is looking for a way to help the people affected by terrorism abroad because now they’re all part of a bigger community. “If this happened in Rhode Island, we’d be there tomorrow to take care of those people and let them know that we stand with them,” Downes said. He wants the survivors to know that it is going to be a hard road, but that they can do it with the right support.

It has been three exhausting years of suffering physically, psychologically, and emotionally since the Boston Marathon for both Downes and his wife Kensky. Even though they are still healing, Downes has a positive outlook on the future. “We’re finally ready to see some light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

You can learn more about Patrick's run and his work to help people with disabilities at Boston College here