The marathon between marathons

Issue April 2014 By Douglas K. Sheff

What happened at the Boston Marathon last April was a horrible tragedy. With the next marathon upon us, I want to reflect on what has happened since that fateful day and recognize the inspiring people who have run "the marathon between marathons" along the road to recovery.

Who are these people? First and foremost, they are the survivors who have been working hard and retraining every day to overcome their injuries. Some are teaching themselves to walk again. Some are learning to see, hear and feel again. Some are fighting unseen injuries, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI). Almost all of them are learning what a new normal feels like.

There have been many others who have run this race with them.

Family members, friends and medical providers have been no less inspiring as they have stood side by side with the survivors throughout the often difficult journey through rehabilitation. The members of the public who donated so generously and continue to give financial aid for victims and their families long after the marathon also deserve our gratitude.

I am most proud of how the Massachusetts Bar Association has supported the survivors throughout the days, weeks and months that followed the blasts. Nearly 90 volunteers have donated their time, resources and expertise to help survivors through our Marathon Bombing Victims Legal Assistance Program.

Members of our legal community volunteered during the MBA's two special Dial-A-Lawyer programs immediately after the bombings. They also provided more lasting assistance through pro bono efforts that benefitted 25 individuals injured in the blasts. In addition to filling out One Fund applications, many of our attorneys have continued help their clients with related legal and non-legal matters, including disability, employment, benefits and housing issues, just to name a few.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help others through our program. As I've always said, it speaks a lot to the character of our profession that attorneys are the ones there to help long after a tragedy occurs and long after support from others has faded.

Last year's marathon is over, and a new race is about to be run. Yet many marathon bombing survivors still face a long road ahead. Some may never cross the finish line in their quest for a full recovery. The MBA will not leave them.

Our marathon - our commitment to help people impacted by the bombings - will never end as long as there are those who need us.