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Boston bombing survivor: A ‘miracle’ to be here

April 14, 2014

BOSTON (AP) — When John Odom left the Boston Medical Center five weeks after the Boston Marathon bombing it wasn’t certain he would ever walk again. But after 11 surgeries and almost a year later, he gets around fine with a cane. Odom has little problem standing, walking, playing golf or even dancing with his wife.

The 66-year-old from Redondo Beach, Calif., and his wife Karen attended a hospital tribute Monday, and said it was “a miracle that he is here today.”

Odom suffered severe blood loss when shrapnel pierced his left leg as he was waiting to watch his daughter, Nicole Reis, cross the finish line April 15, 2013. After two weeks on life support and his heart stopping twice, doctors didn’t know whether he would make it or what his life would be like if he did.

“I would say to them (the doctors) every day, ‘Just tell me is he going to make it?’” Karen Odom said after the tribute ceremony. “And they couldn’t do that — they didn’t know,” she said. “And when they did know he was going to make it, they didn’t know what making it looked like.”

After about seven weeks Odom took his first steps since the attack, which killed three people and injured more than 260 others. His progress has been incredible, his surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Kalish, said.

The Odoms said their family will be “forever indebted” to the hospital’s medical staff.

And when this year’s marathon takes place next week, they will both be at the finish line — not angry or afraid but honored to be cheering on runners and friends, the couple said.

“We all dwell on what happened, but I would rather look forward to where we are going,” Odom said. “We call it our new normal, Karen and I. We call it our new normal because some of the things have changed, but it doesn’t stop us from going forward.”

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