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Boston College Strong Scholarship

Honoring dedication and resiliency

September 13, 2016

A note from Patrick Downes '05:

We did it!

We're excited to announce that—thanks to the generosity of the BC family—the BC Strong Scholarship has eclipsed its $250,000 goal. A record 900 donors (and counting) have contributed in just over one year!

My classmates Michael, Kevin, Grace, and Liz created the scholarship in a show of support for my wife Jessica and me after we suffered life-changing injuries in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. And, now, after surpassing our initial goal and continuing to raise funds, we're thrilled to share that the scholarship has been endowed in perpetuity.

That means year after year, a deserving Boston College student, who has shown great determination in the face of adversity, will receive the critical financial aid they need. What an amazing way to show what it means to be "men and women for others."

From the bottom of my heart, thank you! This scholarship means so much to all of us, to BC, and to the students who will benefit from your generosity.

All our best,

Patrick Downes '05 with Michael Hundgen '05; Kevin Collins '05, MEd'08; Grace Simmons Zuncic '05; and Liz Stowe Fennell '05


 

In April 2013, newlyweds Patrick Downes '05 and Jessica Kensky, while watching the Boston Marathon near the finish line, were caught in one of the two blasts that went off that day. Each sustained serious injuries resulting in amputations.

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The couple, initially separated by rescue personnel and treated at different hospitals, remained strong. After being reunited, their love and dedication to one another was summed up in the media and captured the attention of the entire country.

In the wake of this tragedy, and despite an ongoing healing process, Patrick and Jessica have spent their time reaching out to others impacted by traumatic injuries, especially people who have undergone amputations and need support. They have used their influence and educations to advocate for better processes for amputees, better conversations among public officials regarding healthcare, and more.

Even the latest addition to Patrick and Jessica's family, Rescue, a NEADS dog who assists Jessica with everyday tasks from walking to fetching her phone to simply being there for a good hug, has caught the eye of the national media. It is no surprise that these two then seized on his fame to raise awareness for the impact of dogs such as Rescue in the lives of disabled Americans everywhere.

As family and friends of Patrick and Jessica, we want to honor their incredible dedication and resiliency. As part of the Boston College family, we look to them and see models of what it means to be "men and women for others." The Boston College Strong Scholarship, once endowed at $250,000, will live on in perpetuity in Patrick and Jessica's names. Each year, it will be awarded to an individual who exemplifies the same character and values as this amazing couple.  

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This scholarship fund was established by the Class of 2005 in honor of their friend and fellow classmate, Patrick Downes '05 and his wife Jessica Kensky, in the spirit of love they received in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. This gift will establish a scholarship for a student with demonstrated financial need and a physical disability; second preference for a student who exhibits qualities of compassion and service to the community; and third preference for a student who has overcome adversity. The scholarship has been fully endowed at $250,000, and we continue to raise funds.

Read more about Patrick and Jessica in:

Business Wire

The Boston Globe

Iceland Monitor

Light the World Campaign