More than 1000 donors give first scholarship in honor of Marathon survivors

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Jack Manning walks with much more support than you physically see. He lost half his leg at the age of eight to cancer.

“It's just been part of my life the whole time, since I can remember,” Manning told Boston 25 News.

But as a sophomore at Boston College, Manning is helping others. When he's not on campus, he's meeting with kids with cancer and showing them they can overcome the limitations.

Because of all he does, he's now being honored himself. He's the first recipient of the Boston College Strong scholarship.

It comes from Jessica Kensky and her husband Patrick Downes, who both lost legs during the Boston Marathon bombing.

Downes went to BC and the scholarship began among friends supporting the couple because of their own injuries; but then it grew.

“It blew us away,” Downes said. “We're still getting used to how kind and the good will that people are able to generate.”

Now the scholarship in their honor is a way of giving back to the community that gave them so much.

MORE: Marathon bombing survivor runs first road race since 2013 attack

Kensky says hearing Jack’s story brought her back to her own struggles.

“He made a decision that I made at 34 years old that was the most gut wrenching decision of my life to amputate one of my legs. And he made that as a kid. I can't even wrap my head around what he has been through,” she explained.

For jack, he just sees it as part of his journey -- all that he knows.

But the scholarship is something much more and he plans to use it to help others.

“It means a lot, so hopefully I can pay it more forward over the next couple of years,” Jack said.

About 1000 donors have given to the BC Strong scholarship, raising $400,000. It's a scholarship that they plan to give out every year moving forward.

MORE: Young amputee receives new legs thanks to Marathon bombing survivor

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