Monday was going to be a day about family for Sydney Corcoran and her mother. Patriots Day in Boston: the Red Sox, the Marathon, the revelry, the community.
The two had arranged to meet Sydney's father at the race's finish line to cheer on her aunt as she completed the 26-mile race. They were standing just a few feet from a backpack when a bomb packed inside the bag exploded and shook the pulse of the entire country.
Shrapnel from the bomb sliced into both the women's legs, leaving the two wounded and stranded on the Boston street, bleeding profusely and in need of medical attention.
The two were transported to Boston Medical Center and entered into the emergency room. Sydney, 18, had deep injuries and a massive amount of blood loss, but Celeste's injuries were dire: She'd need her legs amputated.
The news was altogether terrible; what made it worse was the way it would affect their lives. Sydney, a high school senior, was prepping for her first year at Middlesex Commmunity College in the fall. Celeste, a hairdresser married to a delivery driver, quite literally worked on her feet all day. Without legs, she couldn't perform any aspect of her job.
Family members decided that they'd find a way to help. They got in their cars and cruised up and down I-95 to drive through New England to meet them in Boston.
Alyssa Carter, a cousin, had come up with another idea: She went on to the crowdfunding site GoFundMe and set up a Celeste & Sydney Recovery Fund, a campaign that Carter initially hoped would raise $20,000.
Carter originally shared it with a Corcoran-focused group on Facebook, but the news started to spread beyond the family. Before long, she told Mashable, even E!'s Chelsea Handler threw a contribution to the two embattled women, donating $15,000 to help with their recovery.
Opened Tuesday, the campaign has currently raised more than $215,000. On Wednesday, Carter upped the listed goal to $300,000 "as to not discourage anyone from donating since we were quickly approaching our initial goal."
The two Corcoran women are set for another round of surgeries this week. Carter says that the nurses were able to get the two into the same room and push their beds together so they can hold hands.
"Celeste has been incredibly positive and Sydney has been able to crack a few smiles despite the ordeal," she wrote. "The family has been amazed by the flow of donations and is elated, which truly speaks to the amazing power of love and generosity.
"They have a challenging journey but you all have truly helped to ease the pain."
The rush to help the two Corcoran women is just one in a series of countless examples of Bostonians and fellow Americans coming to the aid of injured and displaced victims of the bombing. Facebook users have flooded marathon pages with condolences and well-wishes. Redditors have sent pizza and offered frequent flyer miles to help families get to their loved ones. Locals set up a Google doc shortly after the bombing took place to help offer shelter to victims.
"We owe them unspeakable gratitude," Carter said. She was speaking specifically of the first responders who came to the Corcoran women's aid, but she could have meant it for nearly everyone else involved.
Photo via Alyssa Carter/GoFundMe