Marc Fucarile Is on a Mission to Help the Adaptive Athlete Community

Marc Fucarile continues moving forward, more than 11 years since a terrorist bomb took his right leg. As the Boston Marathon bombing survivor views it, his darkest moment and the long road to recovery that followed now fuels his mission to brighten the lives of those facing similar challenges.

Now as a motivational speaker, the Boston native travels across the United States to share his story. His prosthetic right leg and wheelchair are reminders of the horrific event of 2013. The silver lining, however, he says, was the outpouring of support he received from friends and total strangers. The love shown by others helped inspire Fucarile to go all in with his a platform he uses to help those in the adaptive community find resources as well as raise awareness on the opportunities and possibilities available for them.

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” says. “It provided me a platform. That’s why I’m building the MARC Network (). It’s a centralized location for everything mobility impaired, it’s for people to share resources… Whatever that affects your mobility or, or disability you or a loved one face, you can engage with others that are facing those same challenges that’s trying to provide those resources because resources are very difficult to find this amazing group of nonprofit organizations companies out there that don’t have the money to market so people can’t find them easily.”

Fucarile not only became an advocate and voice for the , his post-marathon life has given him blessings he says that may not have presented themselves.

“I normally wasn’t a man of faith but it’s undeniable now by the people that surround me and support me. And you know, my incident led me to my now wife, Nicole Browder. She’s an amazing woman. She was born with no arms and no legs. And I wouldn’t have never met her if this didn’t happen to me.”

 

One Moment Changed His Life Forever

April 15 2013, began like any other Boston Marathon day—full of excitement as Boston celebrated Patriots Day. Marc Fucarile was one of the fans in attendance, lending his support to a high school friend and veteran. As describes it, several moments into the race, the first bomb went off. Then 12 seconds later, a second bomb exploded right next to Fucarile, instantly taking of his right leg.

When it was over, five people were killed that day (including two officers). Fucarile was one of the 264 reported injured. The bombers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, planted both pressure cooker bombs that went off. Tamerlan was shot and killed by police while Dzhokhar was arrested, tried and found guilty of 30 counts and sentenced to death.

“It’s a tough day,” he says. “So much positive came out of it, but that there was so much negative as well. I try to focus on the positive as much as I can.”

He spent 45 days in Boston Mass General and another 55 days at Spaulding rehab. He then spent the remainder of 2013 and 2014 traveling the US looking for a doctor to help fix my right leg and my left leg may get more usable in the sense of getting a prosthetic. In 2015 he was accepted to Walter Reed Hospital, where a fifth reconstructive surgery was performed on his right leg while his left leg was prepped and fitted for a much needed prosthetic.

“I got scrap metal in my heart, right up to the artery in the vein and lodged in my right atrium that they monitor now,” he says. “I was pretty banged up, to say the least.”

Marc Fucarile

Marc Fucarile Is Inspired to Inspire

When it came to generosity, one individual Fucarile mentions Bill McCabe, a father of one of his high school classmates. While he was still recovering from his injuries, McCabe offered to run a marathon for every day Marc Fucarile spent in the hospital. It was a crazy idea, Fucarile first thought, but 100-plus marathons later, McCabe’s act of kindness became the catalyst for Fucarile’s mindset of making the impossible possible.

Using a hand cycle, Fucarile entered and finished his first marathon and has gone on to complete eight marathons.

“[Before this] I never would never even consider doing a marathon,” he says. “But if he could do 100, I can do one and show my son that anything is possible. I saw the difference it made in my life. It showed me what can be done as long as you don’t quit.

In addition to marathons and 5Ks, the former high school football and baseball player now regularly particiopates in monoskiing with his wife monoskiing, Nicole Browder, who was born without arms and legs. He also participates in sled hockey and one day, if time allows to join a sled football league.

Although he wouldn’t consider himself far from an elite para athlete, he’s leading by example. By hitting the slopes and the skating rinks, Fucarile showing others that no matter your limitations, there’s a way to get it done.

“I’ve run into people who are like, ‘I can’t run no more because of my knee,’” he says. “I’m tell them you can still do marathons—I’ve cycled eight of them. Many of them don’t even know it’s an option. And that’s what we’re trying to do, bring awareness.

The Work Is Never Done, According to Marc Fucarile

His daily schedule, he says, is quite simple: “I wake up and work and work until you can’t work no more and you have to go to sleep because nobody else is awake to work.”

Building the MARC Network has him traveling across the country telling his story and raising awareness as well as searching for resources. While he admits many people are unaware of the difficulties ahead he hopes his advice to find a a network of those facing similar circumstances to help in this long journey.

“The advice to people when I go and visit in the hospital is find a community,” Marc Fucarile says. “Many amputees don’t want to hang out with other people with disabilities. I don’t understand it. They just want to try to be as normal as possible. The reality is you’re not right. You need that community to find someone who can relate and maybe provide you with some tips to make your life better and easier. You need to find somebody that is facing the same challenges that can relate to what you’re going through because you guys can help each other.”

One of the biggest challenges remains funding, and through his word and getting out—as he recently did on ESPN Pat Mcafee Show during Super Bowl week.  Because many insurance companies don’t completely cover adaptive equipment—quality and specialized wheelchairs and prosthetics can run in the thousands—finding resources can oftentimes be an uphill climb for many adaptive individuals. He hopes to change that.

“Being disabled is expensive,” he says. “Insurance doesn’t cover any or most of it. So there’s been a ton of fundraising. I was blessed with around the one fund in in people, complete strangers, family members, friends that supported me. And now we’re all trying to give back.”

Marc Fucarile has been through a lot, but has come out stronger and more confident than he was before the 2013 Boston Marathon. And if you ask him, there’s not a challenge he’s not up for. He hopes that everyone facing the same circumstances believe in themselves as much as he does.

I’m a man who believes everybody can do anything,” he says. “If I wanted to go to the moon, I guarantee I could figure out a way to go to the moon. It would be hard, but I believe I can figure it out getting the right programs, get with the right people. It’s not gonna be easy, but nothing good in life is easy.”

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