SCRANTON -- Organizers of an annual event for amputees say they were affected by the stories and images of the victims in Boston. So much so, that they decided to turn this year's event into a fundraiser for the bombing victims
So far, 13 of the Boston Marathon bombing survivors have lost limbs and that number may rise. That news hit hard with a group of doctors and patients at Allied Services in Scranton who decided to do whatever they can to help.
Jerry Vlacich lost his right leg four years ago in a motorcycle crash. Since then he's counseled other amputees at Allied Services in Scranton. But now, he wishes he could send his advice to Boston.
"A doctor or a therapist can say that you can do it, but if someone is already an amputee and tells you you can do it, it means a little bit more, I think," Vlacich said.
That's really what Thursday's event was for. The Amputee Awareness Fair is held each April at Allied Services. It gives local amputees support and shows off the latest in prosthetic technology.
"This is for the battery charge every night, or every second night, and on the side, there's a mark for the Bluetooth."
This year, the fair had a different feel. Thoughts were with the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings.
"When we saw what happened in Boston, we had an outpouring of requests from our own employees and friends of Allied who thought 'what can we do to help?" said Allied Services's Jim Brogna.
So, starting this week Allied is collecting donations for the Wiggle Your Toes Foundation that helps amputees and their families. Whatever Allied collects will be matched by the foundation and go directly to the families of the 13 amputees in Boston. So, they're passing around jars and asking employees to participate in dress-down days.
"I'm originally from New England and I was devastated by the bombing. Today was dress down day and I figured it was for Boston and Dorcester and so I wore my Red Sox," said Barbara Mellander of Allied Services.
The people at Allied say the families of the Boston victims have a long road ahead. Prosthetics and physical therapy will cost them thousands and that's how the donations will help. But, they'll also need emotional support.
"They still have to go through a mourning process, because they're mourning a body part that's gone. They still have to go through acceptance, and the most important part is moving forward," said William "Red" Shea of Archbald.
The folks at Allied Services in Scranton will be collecting donations for the Wiggle Your Toes Foundation for the next few weeks,
You can find out how to donate by clicking here.
Allied will be making its donation in memory of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy killed in the bombing.