Jessica Kensky was an oncology nurse when she and her husband, Patrick Downes, a graduate student in psychology, were both critically injured at the Boston Marathon bombing. At the time, they were newlyweds (married less than 7 months) enjoying a day off in the city together. Jessica immediately had her left leg amputated below the knee, and eventually lost her right leg below the knee. Patrick lost his left leg below the knee immediately following the attack. Jessica and Patrick were separated in the chaos that ensued after the bombs went off, and they were rushed to separate Boston city hospitals where they were separated for five weeks until they were reunited at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital where they stayed for an additional five weeks.
After looking for an answer to Jessica’s injured right leg, the couple was eventually given permission to be patients at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. In January 2015, she made the excruciating decision to amputate her right leg below the knee. Patrick was able to take advantage of the Return to Run Program at Walter Reed. Running proved to be therapeutic, so he increased his distance until he could run 26.2 miles, returning to complete the 2016 Boston Marathon with his brother, sister-in-law, and dear friend. This was a meaningful and cathartic return to the finish line where he and his wife had lost so much.
They returned to Cambridge in 2017 where Jessica started her Doctorate in Nursing and is working at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Patrick recently completed his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and has joined the Board of Overseers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he was born and treated after the Marathon bombings. They recently authored a children’s book about their service dog entitled Rescue and Jessica: A Live Changing Friendship, which will be available for purchase in the Rehab Summit exhibit hall.
Jessica and Patrick have been forever shaped by this experience. They both look at the world very differently and have developed passion and advocacy roles that relate to people with disabilities, survivors of terrorism, and military service members.
Tim Hague Sr. overcame the odds when he went from a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease to winning season #1 of The Amazing Race Canada. Now, as a highly sought-after speaker, he shares with his audiences the lessons learned from having run and won this amazing race with Parkinson’s. Tim’s unique history as a retired Nurse, Entrepreneur, Parkinson’s Advocate and Patient provides rich insight to his message of Live Your Best. Tim was formally diagnosed with Parkinson’s in February 2011. Two years later he and his son, Tim Jr., were selected from over ten thousand applicants to be one of nine teams to run the race. After coming in last twice and nearly being eliminated, The Tim’s not only survived but went on to produce an epic come-from-behind victory.
Session 200: Perseverance with Parkinson's