Lauren DeFranzo

Lauren DeFranzo, 32

South Boston

I hit mile 24. I had friends cheering me on and I stopped to say hi. One of them told me there was something going on, that there was a small explosion and nothing to worry about, keep running. I hit Kenmore and the crowd was so calm and not as large as it usually is. Something is definitely wrong, this isn’t right. I kept running and saw people coming in my direction.

I saw the one-mile-to-go sign; it didn’t mean anything at that point, because I knew something was wrong.  Everyone was waving their hands, saying the race is called off, stop running, stop running. So I stopped and started to panic. I wandered around until I found some other Children’s Hospital runners and we were hugging and trying to figure out what to do … We walked to Mass. Ave and some strangers walked up to us and offered their phones. We tried to make calls and it just rang busy. Nothing went through. So we made our way to the Prudential Center, and the Pru was going into lockdown mode. We couldn’t get through, we couldn’t do anything. By this point, we’d been wandering for about an hour. We stopped into the Cheesecake Factory to get some water and regroup. A nice couple came up to us and made us sit down, they gave us their jackets. We had been walking around in singlets. We were freezing. They got us some drinks, sat us down, and gave us their phones. It had been two hours, and I was finally able to get ahold of my mom. My mother, father, stepfather, and sister were between the explosions, between Fairfield and Exeter Streets. They just started running … When I finally met up with my parents, the first thing they said was, you’re not running next year. So, I haven’t told them yet. Chances are I will run in 2014.

—As told to Boston magazine. Photo by Scott M. Lacey

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  • Susan DeFranzo Wyse

    So very proud of my sister for accomplishing all that she did on that day, despite the circumstances. What was supposed to be a joyous occasion turned into tragedy. We were celebrating my sister accomplishing a 26.2 mile run and celebrating my dad’s 66th birthday. The sun was shining, people were cheering – the energy was palpable. Lauren’s great accomplishment was quickly overshadowed by the tragic events at 2:50 PM. We couldn’t even appreciate her accomplishments because of our state of sheer terror and panic from being in the center of the two bombs. After running for safety (in fear that there may be a third bomb, a fourth bomb,…), our main concern was the safety of Lauren. It was an agonizing 2 hours to hear from her. To this day, the events still run over and over and over in our minds as well as the “what ifs,” “how could we have helped more,” and “why were our lives spared.”

    Each day gets better, and we can finally appreciate all that Lauren accomplished… and we
    know that she will rock 26.2 at the Boston Marathon in 2014. We will be there to support and cheer you on.

  • Amy Belanger

    Lauren, you showed so much courage that day! We were so worried about you and our other runner. It was a horrible end to a beautiful day and thankfully all of our families and or BCH families were safe, scared, and shaken up, but safe. I just wanted to thank you for running in Cori’s honor! You are so special to us! We love you Lauren!

  • Gianina Lindsey

    congratulations Lauren! As another BCH family (who was also on Boylston St in front of Lord & Taylor at 2:50pm awaiting our runner) we are SO proud of everyone on the team.. and yes, I will be at the finish line again next year to cheer you all on!

  • Bill DeFranzo

    What Susan said.

  • Sheila DeFranzo Caruso

    What started as a beautiful Spring day turned into a horrible tragedy. First I must say the emergency responders are the real heroes and I could not be more proud of Lauren. I will never forget the sound of bombs on either side of us. The look on my other daughter’s face was one of shear terror. How could I convince her that we were all going to be okay when I did not believe myself; I thought our entire city was under attack. The next few hours were one of despair, anxiety, hope and finally thankfulness that Lauren finally came walking into my arms. We were blessed as a family and our hearts remain with those who were less fortunate. I do not remember stating Lauren would not run next year but I know she WILL and we ALL WILL be there to cheer her on…We are BOSTON STRONG!