PEORIA — Several individuals and families were affected by the two pressure cooker bombs that exploded during the Boston Marathon on April 13.
Perhaps, no family was affected greater than the Richard family. As a result of the bombings, 8-year-old Martin Richard died instantly. Martin’s mother Denise lost an eye and had serious brain trauma after suffering a blow to the head, while 7-year-old Jane Martin lost both of her legs and remains in an intensive care unit. In addition to losing hearing and suffering from leg wounds from shrapnel, the father, Bill Martin, has major funeral and hospital expenses to finance. Only the family’s 12-year-old son, Henry, who was walking behind a tree when the bomb went off, was uninjured.
To help the Richard family, as well as other victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, Bradley University junior Kyle Prader spearheaded a fundraising campaign last month.
“Basically it started out just me designing some T-shirts after I saw what happened on the news and everything like that and from there it kind of blew up a little bit,” said Prader, a mechanical engineering major. ”I started bouncing some ideas off a few of my friends and we decided to create a marathon and try to make a campaign out of it, instead of just selling t-shirts.
“One of the stories that kind of hit home to everybody in the group was the Richard family who lost their 8-year-old son in the bombings, and since then I’ve been in contact with the family. He said their seven-year-old has had 11 surgeries now and is still in the intensive care unit now, so we decided that we would send 75 percent of the proceeds to the family and then the other 25 percent to a fund that the Boston Athletic Association started called the One Fund. And that fund restricts money from donations to all the families who were affected by the bombing.”
With the help of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at Bradley University and a team of Bradley students, Prader held the 5K Run4Boston on April 28. The event raised over $4,000.
With the funds raised through the 5K Run4Boston, t-shirt sales and donations, Prader has raised over $5,000 for the Richard family.
Prader will continue to accept donations and sell t-shirts throughout the rest of the year.
“The t-shirt sales are still going on,” said Prader. “We’re selling them for $5. We’ll be accepting donations for the rest of the year through our website and we’ll be selling t-shirts until they’re all gone as well.”
Prader will send the first of many checks to the Richard family and Boston Athletic Association in late June.
“We contacted the family and told them there would probably be multiple checks, but the first one they would receive would probably be coming to them in late June to their parish,” said Prader. “The reason for that is because I’m actually getting ready to start an internship, as well as a few of my friends are, and each of us has a batch of t-shirts that we’re going to try to sell at our internships for the first month or so and see where that takes us, see if we can get some more money.”
Prader and his group of friends would like to organize a commemorative walk for the City of Boston to raise funds for the Richard family and the Boston Athletic Association, later this year.
“It’s still up in the air,” said Prader. “We’re trying to figure out and organize ourselves because we’re kind of displaced all over the state, so it’s kind of hard to get the team together to talk about everything. We thought about a commemorative walk for the City of Boston. But in order to put something like that on — it would require some sort of funding and we’re not all too sure yet where we would pull those funds from, but as soon as we figure out an outlet where we could get a lot of cash donated, whether it be Gatorade bottles or more t-shirts or things like that to where we don’t have to really dig into anymore of our budget, then we would definitely be willing to move forward with a commemorative walk.”
To donate funds or purchase a t-shirt, visit run4bostonpeoria.org.