Fundraiser honors marathon bombing victims, survivors and police officers

BOSTON — Five years ago, at an event where the entire city comes together to lift each other up, everything changed for Boston and its residents.

In the final days before the 2018 Boston Marathon, the Sean Collier Foundation hosted an event on Wednesday night to honor those who defined Boston Strong.

To mark the five years since the tragedy that struck the city, the fundraiser brought people together to celebrate the city and honor the victims and survivors of the marathon bombings.

"Sometimes it's hard to believe it's been five years and other times it's hard to remember what life was like before," said Heather Abbot.

Abbot lost part of her leg near the finish line, yet she didn't let that get in her way of doing amazing things. She now works as an inspirational speaker with a foundation that provides emotional and financial support to other amputees.

"So much good has come for me since then and I have been able to get on with my life and do things I never thought I would do," said Abbot.

Dic Donohue, the infamous transit cop who nearly died in a gun battle with the bombers in Watertown is now studying for his PhD in criminology at the same time he is raising three kids.

"I needed 46 units of blood to keep me alive and get me through the night," said Donohue. "You know, I am lucky, in some cases very unlucky but at the same point I have been given a tremendous opportunity and second chance - I just try to make the best of it everyday."

Donohue was friends with the MIT police officer Sean Collier who was ambushed and shot dead by the bombers in his patrol car.

At the fundraiser at Ned Devine's on Wednesday night, all of the money raised will go towards a fund in Collier's name.

The Sean Collier Foundation helps disadvantaged children connect with police officers and supports the families of those killed in the line of duty.

"Five years later [and] we're still here, we're still doing this and we're still trying to do good from this horrible thing that happened," said Jennifer Lemmerman, Sean Collier's sister.