Sometimes the best way to help yourself is to lend a hand to others in a similar situation.
When brothers J.P. and Paul Norden left their hometown of Stoneham, Massachusetts, to cheer on a friend in the Boston Marathon last April, they never imagined how much that trip could change their lives. They were two of the 264 victims of the bombings that day, suffering severe injuries from the second blast. Both brothers lost a leg, and were burned by flying shrapnel, according to CBS Boston.
Now 17 months later, they have not only learned how to lead relatively normal lives following their amputations, but also decided that they would like to help others struggling with a similar transition, reported WCVB5. The outpouring of support from friends and strangers alike into their benefit fund, which tended to their medical bills and long-term care, made an incredible difference in their recovery. Their experience inspired their mother, Liz Norden, to create A Leg Forever, their family's charitable organization aimed at providing other amputees with similar help.
The Norden brothers selected Tommy Cox, a 12-year-old boy from North Andover, Massachusetts, who lost his left leg after a severe boating accident last September, as the first beneficiary of A Leg Forever. They met Tommy at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and bonded quickly during their treatment, finding it therapeutic to have a friend to relate to as well as help through the tough recovery process, reported WCVB5.
On Sept. 22, they hosted a charity golf tournament at Bear Hill Country Club in Stoneham, Massachusetts, to help raise money for a new, state-of-the-art prosthetic leg for Tommy, according to their Facebook page. He is now walking again and attending school, but his traditional prosthesis can only take his recovery so far. As the Norden brothers rallied behind Tommy's cause and set a strong example for him -- playing rounds of golf less than two years after their amputations -- they are exemplifying what it truly means to pay it forward.
"The hope that they gave him, we could never repay that," Tommy's mother told WCVB5 at the golf tournament.
The Norden brothers have also published a book, Twice as Strong, about their experience and have designated a portion of the book sales to A Leg Forever, helping Tommy and others purchase the expensive prosthetic legs they need, according to WMUR.