"Wiggle your Toes" - 8 year old Boston Marathon survivor Jane Richards gets her new "Cheetah" leg...
From the youngest, most enchanting victim of the Boston Marathon bombings comes a portrait of pure joy.
With her hands planted firmly on her hips and a beaming smile that all but dares the rest of us to be jealous, Jane Richard, barely 8 years old, shows off her new, hyper-cool artificial leg.
It’s called a “Cheetah” and it was a gift made possible by a group aptly called “Wiggle Your Toes.”
The smile on Jane’s face is the smile of a young athlete — confident, eager and ready to get on the soccer field or the basketball court, or any other arena she may choose to compete in.
It is also a smile that epitomizes every ounce of resilience this city has mustered over the past year.
Less than a week after Adrianne Haslet-Davis lost nearly half of her left leg while standing on Boylston Street, this professional dance instructor told me from her hospital bed that she would indeed dance again. A couple of days ago up in Vancouver, she put on a dancing costume and did exactly that.
Does anyone doubt Jane Richard will use her new leg to its maximum potential as she races down the soccer field? The smile on her face tells you all there is to know about this child’s grace and her indomitable spirit. Jane Richard will do whatever her heart desires and there won’t be anything that will get in her way.
For the daughter of Bill and Denise Richard has already been to hell and back. She has endured enough pain, suffering and heartache for several lifetimes. And yet as the first anniversary of her darkest hour approaches, the day she lost her brother, Martin, and nearly lost her parents, Jane Richard can flash the world a smile filled with a child’s joy and a courage known by few adults.
Only God can know why the Richard family was tested in the way it was a year ago. In the midst of a delightful spring afternoon, as they stood together to watch runners finish the marathon, this Dorchester family was savaged. Martin, the Richard’s beloved 8-year-old son, was killed by a homemade bomb that seriously wounded his mother and father and cost his younger sister half of her left leg.
And yet from the first moments of their ordeal, Bill and Denise Richard, pillars of their Dorchester community, looked for ways to transcend their enormous loss and transform it into a source of hope and strength.
A team of runners will carry little Martin Richard’s plea of “No more hurting people” into this year’s marathon.
And one day in the not too distant future, look for Jane Richard to run that fabled race in honor of her brother. And my prediction is she will be very tough to beat.