Boston Marathon Survivor and Merrimack Freshman Sydney Corcoran inspires others

Just five months after the Boston Marathon bombing, Sydney Corcoran stepped on to the Merrimack College campus as a freshman student. “Attending school is a huge step for me. There have been moments where I've questioned whether I was ready for this transition to college. But I decided that I need to move forward.”

Sydney and her mother Celeste were badly injured in the bombings. Her mother lost both of her legs, and Sydney suffered deep arterial injuries and severely injured her legs and foot. For Sydney, the bombing attack was another blow after recovering from a serious car accident in 2010 that left her with a brain hemorrhage and fractured skull. Despite the fact that she’s facing another surgery and continuing to deal with ongoing nerve pain in her right leg, Sydney says she “feels good.”

When asked about the transition to a college environment, Sydney remarked, “College is so different from high school, but Merrimack offers tremendous resources and support. At  first I was reluctant to meet new people, but I’m starting to make new friends and we’re talking about forming a study group. I’m excited to become part of a community.”

Sydney is majoring in psychology with hopes of going on to become an occupational therapist. “I want to be an occupational therapist because when I was in the hospital and rehab, although the nurses and therapists were there for me, they couldn’t truly understand what I’d gone through. As a result, they could only offer me so much. If I were to become an occupational therapist, I feel like I could help patients on a different level, both physically and mentally.”

When asked what good has come from this tragedy, Sydney was quick to respond. “The community—absolutely. Boston has always been part of my life and I love the people. But after this happened, people really pulled together. People from all around the world reached out to send their well wishes. Things like that can really help and turn it around for you. It’s great to know that you’re not alone. People are behind you.”

Sydney would like to inspire others by sharing her story with people who are facing difficult challenges. “To people who are struggling, I say, ‘appreciate that you’re alive. You can do whatever you need to do. You can do it.’”


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