There is no silver lining in a tragedy like the Boston Marathon bombings. Yet even acts of horrific terror manage to inspire everyone from civilian bystanders to survivors to try and help others impacted by these events. Here are eight incredible survivors who turned their tragedies into a way to give back.
Jerry White, Israel Landmine Survivor
White lost his leg to a landmine explosion in 1984 during a backpacking trip in Israel. He went on to co-found the Survivor Corps., which raises awareness about landmines and supports victims of landmine explosions and other survivors of war. The man convinced everyone from Princess Diana to King Hussein of Jordan to support his cause. He is a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Jesús Martínez , El Salvador Landmine Survivor
Martínez lost both of his legs to a landmine on the outskirts of San Salvador as a teenager in the late 1980s, according to James Madison University. In the following years, he dedicated his time to helping other landmine survivors, serving as director of LSN-El Salvador, an organization for victims, and then as executive director of the Network of Survivors and Disabled Persons. He has spoken about his experiences before lawmakers and audiences around the world.
Richard Williams, Oklahoma City Bombing Survivor
Williams worked in the Murrah Federal Building that was bombed in 1995. He was buried in the rubble, with a fractured skull and a crushed ear. After months of rehab, Williams turned his attention to what others in that situation needed. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation and co-chaired several other committees aimed at helping survivors and remembering those who perished in the blast.
Carie Lemack, Daughter of 9/11 Victim
Lemack's mother, Judy Larocque, was aboard the first plane that hit the twin towers in New York City on September 11, 2001. Lemack went on to co-found Families of September 11 after the attacks, and now directs the Bipartisan Policy Center's Homeland Security Project. She also co-founded the Global Survivors Network, which gives victims of terror a platform, and she produced an Academy Award-nominated documentary film, Killing the Name, about terrorism.
Kristina Anderson, Virginia Tech Survivor
Anderson was shot during the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting rampage. She founded the Koshka Foundation, which aims to remember the victims of school shootings and improve school safety, connect survivors and promote positive student activism.
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, Tucson Shooting Survivor
Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Mark Kelly, have worked to get lawmakers to pass stricter gun control measures since she was severely shot during a meeting with constituents in 2011.
Jeremy Richman and Jennifer Hensel, Newtown Shooting Victim Parents
Richman and Hensel lost their only child, Avielle, in the school shooting in Newtown in late 2012. Both scientists, they recently launched a scientific advisory board to investigate brain health as part of the Avielle Foundation, which aims to reduce violence. They want to learn more about what might cause a person to act violently.
Carlos Arredondo, Boston Marathon Spectator/Volunteer
Arredondo leapt into action to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombings just after the blasts occurred. He was attending the event to honor his two late sons, one lost to war and the other to suicide.