When injured Marines who were visiting Boston Marathon bombing victim Celeste Corcoran told her about the Paralympics Sunday at Boston Medical Center, she told them she'd never been a runner because she used to get "the most horrible shin splints."
"So I was like, 'Hey, I don't have shins anymore,'" Corcoran, a 47-year-old hair stylist from Lowell, Mass., is heard saying in a YouTube Video of the encounter. "'I won't be getting shin splints. I can do this.'"
Doctors had to amputate Corcoran's legs below the knee after the bombing, but her sense of humor is intact, family member Alyssa Carter told ABCNews.com. Both Corcoran and her daughter, Sydney, 17, have had three surgeries since April 16, when two bombs exploded at the marathon finish line, killing three people and injuring at least 200 others.
Corcoran's husband, Kevin, looked away from Corcoran and Sydney when he heard the blast. When he looked back, they were on the ground, Carter said. He saw Corcoran's mangled legs, rushed her to first aid tents and prayed strangers would take care of his daughter.
Sydney's femoral artery had been severed, but three passersby stayed with her, put pressure on the wound and tied a tourniquet around it to stop the bleeding, Carter said. The femoral artery is a main artery in the thigh, and Sydney's wound would have been fatal had the strangers not stopped to help her, doctors told Carter.
Besides losing a pinky toe, she is expected to make a full recovery.
"Yesterday, she actually stood for the first time," Carter, who is Kevin's cousin, said, referring to a photo on the fundraising site. "Isn't she beautiful, too?"
It was the same day the Marines from Semper Fi Fund for injured Marines came to visit.
"You just got to have that positive attitude to really pull through," one of them is heard saying on the YouTube video. "And you have your daughter to go through this with you, which is a huge blessing in disguise. This isn't the end. It's the beginning."
The family has health insurance, but because Corcoran will need prosthetics and has to miss work where she spends so much time standing, Carter helped start the Celeste and Sydney Recovery Fund. It has reached $582,000 of its $750,000 goal. Comedian-actress Chelsea Handler donated $25,000.
The fund's Facebook page already has more than 7,800 likes, and Carter said the mother and daughter are amazed by the amount of support they've received from complete strangers.
"I'm sure they'll have their dark moments, but kind words from everyone and the support is really helping," Carter said.