Out of the tragedy of last year’s Boston Marathon grew many happy stories of generosity and kindness. This year, the Old South Church launched a Marathon Scarf Project, putting out a call for knitters far and wide to send in scarves for the runners, survivors, and first responders of the Boston Marathon. The scarves were to be a symbol of love and courage, and a “proclamation of love over hate”. Linda Desjardins was the recipient of one of these scarves, and what makes this story even more heartwarming is her show of appreciation for the gesture (and the scarf). Following is Linda’s letter to the students at Ripley High in Ripley, WV, who knitted the scarf she received:
Dear Students of Ripley High,
You generously supported and contributed to the Old South Church Year of Remembrance and Love Marathon Scarf Project 2014. I’m sure you sent those hand-made scarves out as sort of messages in bottles, hoping someone would receive them and feel the love.
Well, I did. I’m a marathon runner who was stopped six tenths of a mile short of the Boston Marathon finish line in 2013 as the race abruptly ended with the bombings. I was blessed not to have been injured physically; however, emotionally I still tear up remembering that moment, that day, the aftermath, and the hurt lingers. I was determined to run Boston this year again and when I went to the Runner’s Expo to pick up my bib, I was already aware of the scarf project and saw so very many runners proudly wearing all types of hand-knitted and crocheted scarves as they navigated around the Expo and Boston all weekend. (Appropriately, too, it was rather raw and cold.) I learned the scarves were being distributed to runners at the Old South Church and I headed there, a short distance away from the Expo. Outside the church were several lovely women with arms full of scarves who patiently and lovingly wrapped a scarf around each runner’s neck and wished each of us well. I was one of those so honored. I cried. My scarf is beautiful – a ruffle of navy trimmed with gold. I wore it with pride and will continue to do so.
When you perform acts of kindness, please never think for a moment that your effort is like dust in the wind. Even if it is not acknowledged, it does, indeed, make a difference. Hearts were touched; the generosity and love were appreciated.
Yes, I ran Boston this year and finished proudly. We took the marathon back. We were Boston Strong and some of our strength and healing came from scarves thoughtfully crafted and donated by loving people from across the country and around the world. My special boost came from Ripley High School, West Virginia. I thank you sincerely.
May your kindness be returned a thousand fold.