BOSTON— Patrick Downes walked to the pitcher’s mound as his name boomed through the speakers at Fenway Park. The crowd went wild. Downes was flanked by veterans—some in wheelchairs, some on one or two prosthetics. The area code for Boston, 617, was stitched onto the back of his Red Sox jersey.
Downes kicked the dirt off the pitcher’s plate with his prosthetic leg and fired the symbolic first pitch into David Ortiz’s glove at home plate. From the first base line, the fastball looked like a strike. The crowd erupted again, and Ortiz walked toward the mound and embraced Downes, who met him halfway.
On Monday, Downes plans to run the Boston Marathon, three years after he lost his left leg in the terrorist attack at the finish line. His wife Jessica—they’d only been married for a few months when the bombs went off—lost her left leg, too. A little over a year ago, her right leg had to be amputated as well. The two have been living at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland for about a year and half, but they come back to Boston for holidays.