Scottsdale man's stepsisters hurt in Boston bombings - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Scottsdale man's stepsisters hurt in Boston bombings

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Nicole Gross Nicole Gross
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PHOENIX -

A valley man whose two stepsisters were hurt at the Boston marathon is talking for the first time about the horror he watched. Both of the women are still in Boston hospitals, and one just underwent a major surgery.

This man says his stepsisters were at the marathon to watch their mother come across the finish line. She was about half a mile from the finish line when the bomb went off.

She didn't find her daughters until that night and the next day -- images of their injuries were seen nationally.

A woman covered in blood in obvious dislike that a bomb just went off in Boston. It's an iconic image that's painful to look at, especially for Guy Downing.

"This is right in my family, it's just kind of surreal that it hit that close," says Downing.

The woman on the front of the New York Post is Guy Downing's stepsister 32-year-old Nicole Gross.

"When the bomb went off I thought oh, there's 100,000 people. There's 3 people dead and 20 people injured… what's the chance that it's Carol, Erika, or Nicole."

Downing and his family were hit with the harsh reality that terrorism can touch any of us at any time.

His sisters' injury is also shown in replays of the bombing countless times a day.

"Nicole has a compound fracture in one of her legs. One of her ankles is destroyed, and they're trying to put it back together, she also has skin graft issues."

The cameras captured Nicole but it was her sister, 29-year-old Erika Brannock who got the worst of the injuries.

"She's had her left leg amputated too. Just went through 10 hour surgery yesterday to maintain the amputation below the knee. It's looking 50-50 that they'll have to move the amputation above the knee."

UPDATE: Downing tells FOX 10's Kristen Keogh that Erika's amputation is going above the knee on April 29.

Nicole underwent emergency surgery April 28 on her intestinal system, which had shut down as a result of the narcotics.

Downing logs onto Facebook for updates from his stepmom -- he says they're asking for prayers and positive energy.

"They're strong, they're fighting strong. I even got a picture of Erika with a smile on her face in one of her treatment sessions. They're trying to get her out of bed and do some kind of physical therapy."

Nicole's husband was also injured but not as badly because he stepped away to take a picture. Erika is staying in the same hospital on the same floor as the surviving bombing suspect.

"I can't imagine that that's healthy for her mentally and emotionally to know he's just down the hall," says Downing.

She'll be there for another 4-6 weeks.

 

Both women are missing work and need help with medical bills.

Online: www.bestrongstaystrong.net

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