As a picture emerges of the men suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon last week, so too are connections between the tragedy and the disability community.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger of the two alleged bombers, spent time volunteering with an organization that promotes social and employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities while he was in high school.
In a statement, Best Buddies International acknowledged that Tsarnaev participated in their program — which pairs students in one-on-one relationships with peers who have intellectual disabilities — during the 2010 academic year through a chapter at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Mass.
Beyond that time, however, Best Buddies officials said Tsarnaev had no involvement with the group.
Meanwhile, a father-son running team touched by cerebral palsy was just a mile from reaching the marathon’s finish line when the bombs went off, killing three and injuring more than 200.
Dick Hoyt and his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, were at mile 25 when they realized something was terribly wrong. The pair — with Dick pushing Rick in a specially-designed wheelchair — have competed together in more than 1,000 races.
The Hoyts were honored near the starting line of this year’s Boston Marathon, which they had expected to be their last time participating in the race. But now the duo tell TODAY that they are committed to returning next year to honor the victims.
“We’re definitely going to run next year, and we’re going to be stronger next year, and I know the marathon is going to be stronger next year,” Dick Hoyt said.