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Lynch School of Education

Outpouring of Support for BC Alumnus and Wife Seriously Injured in Boston Marathon Blast


CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (4-18-13) Members of the University community near and far have responded to the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon with numerous examples of prayer, reflection and outreach.

Most recently, Boston College alumni, friends and even complete strangers have reached out to help Lynch School of Education graduate Patrick Downes ’05 and his wife Jessica, a nurse at Mass. General Hospital, who were both seriously injured by the blast.

Friends have launched a fundraising effort via GiveForward.com to help pay the couple’s medical bills and other costs. As of this morning, “Help for Patrick and Jess” had solicited some 3,000 donations with a steadily rising total nearing the  $200,000 mark.

“You don't know me,” wrote one donor on the page, “but I wanted to contribute to the cost of your care, and wish you a speedy recovery. I am so sorry this happened to you, but I hope you emerge from this with strong spirits and determination to live the rest of your lives to the fullest.”

As an undergraduate at BC, Downes, a Cambridge native, was active in Campus Ministry — he directed its Kairos Retreat program for students — and took part in a special panel discussion sponsored by the University’s Church in the 21st Century initiative and moderated by “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert. He received a certificate of merit for programming skills in the 2005 University Student Leadership Awards.

"When he was here, Patrick was the kind of BC student who would light up a room, who led by his presence," said Campus Minister Daniel Leahy. "He embodies what BC is all about. Patrick is a tremendous person -- as a BC undergraduate, and now as an alumnus. We wish him and Jessica all the best."

Downes"who cried his eyes out when the Sox finally won the World Series," according to the post on the fundraising site"was "nicknamed 'Jesus' in high school for his goodness."

Jess Downes "has the spirit of a lion," the poster wrote, "and combined with Patrick's good (the most good!) heart and interminable support for his wife, "I have no doubt in my mind that they will persevere through this horrific time."

He began dating Jessica, a California native, in 2006, and the couple was married in Boston last summer. (For more about Patrick and Jess, or to contribute, visit the “Help for Patrick and Jess” page.)

—Sean Smith, Office of News & Public Affairs