April 15th 2013, I was 14 years old and going to my first ever Red Sox game. I was with my mom, dad and younger sister. As we were sitting in the stands at Fenway there was also something else going on. The Boston Marathon was underway. I had never seen the marathon either, so that day was a big day for me, I just didn’t know that it was going to change my life forever. During the 7th inning my family decided that it was time to start walking towards the finish line. We were gong to go to this restaurant right on the finish line called Max Brenner’s. I was very excited but on the way there my dad and I got into a little fight. I can’t even remember what the fight was about because it was so unimportant. We finally made it through the crowd of people and into the restaurant. My mom went to the bathroom and the rest of us had just sat down. As I’m looking at the menu, a loud bang happened outside. Everyone in the restaurant froze. At first I didn’t think anything of it, I just didn’t think it was important. A man got up out of his seat and made his way to the front of the restaurant where the windows where. Then a second, even louder bang occurred. This one shook the building and the glass from the windows came crashing in. This is when the fear struck me. The man that got up ran back towards us screaming. My dad thought someone with a gun was in the restaurant so he threw my sister and I under the table and laid on top of us. I started to cry and say “daddy, daddy, daddy” over and over again. My sister was crying and screaming that she didn’t want to die. My mom came running out of the bathroom and got us up. Everyone in the restaurant was running out the back door. Everyone was in a panic, throwing chairs and anything that was in the way of them getting out. Once we were outside my mom called my uncle and told him what was going on. He immediately got in his car to come get us. No one was allowed to come into the city so we had to walk all the way to the Cambridge mall for him to pick us up. Once we were in the car I finally felt safe even though we had no idea what had just happened. We got home and turned on the news. This is when we learned that this was a terrorist attack. My heart sunk. People were seriously hurt or dead. I realized how lucky I was. I got out untouched. I immediately knew I had to do something for those who were not so lucky.
I decided to make and sell Boston Strong ribbons. I sold them everywhere, school, karate, you name it— I was there selling my ribbons for a dollar each. I ended up making a couple hundred dollars for the One Fund. All the money went to the victims and the families affected by the bombing. I got in my local newspaper for this, but I really did not care about getting recognition. All I wanted was to help the people who got it worse than I did.
I still think about that day often. Loud noises still scare me. There have been a few times where I would hear a loud noise and have a panic attack and have to leave where I am. That day changed my life forever. I don’t take things for granted anymore. I am grateful for every day and I am living my life to now help people who have it worse than me. If the bombing taught me anything it was that I am very lucky and fortunate to have the life I do.