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Photo of female casualty becomes touchstone in Boston's trauma

April 16, 2013|By Christine Mai-Duc
  • Sydney Corcoran is tended to at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday. This photo ran in many newspapers across the nation Tuesday, but her identity was not immediately known.
Sydney Corcoran is tended to at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on… (John Tlumacki / Associated…)

Kevin and Celeste Corcoran had already survived one trauma two years ago when a car struck their daughter, Sydney, and left her with a fractured skull.

Sydney, now an 18-year-old senior at Lowell High School in Lowell, Mass., fought hard to recover, and was bound for Middlesex Community College this fall.

On Monday, Sydney and her parents were standing near the finish line at the Boston Marathon when two explosions ripped through the street, said Paul Corcoran, her great-uncle.

PHOTOS: Bombings splashed across nation's front pages

When he looked at the cover of the New York Times on Tuesday, there was Sydney, pictured lying on the ground as two men attended to her.

"I've seen the picture online with all the articles and with the smaller ones I couldn't quite tell," he told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview. "But you're looking at the front page of the New York Times. I mean, that's her."

The blasts left Sydney’s legs shredded with shrapnel. Celeste’s injuries, though, forced doctors to amputate her legs below the knee, he said.

FULL COVERAGE: Boston Marathon attack

Kevin, a truck driver at a firm nearby, had only minor injuries, and their older son, Tyler, was at the family’s home when the attacks occurred.

Paul Corcoran, who has been in close contact with his family via text messages and Facebook, said both had come out of surgery at Boston Medical Center and were awake Tuesday afternoon. Sydney had come out of surgery to repair major arterial damage in her legs, he said.

“One of the latest things I heard is that they rolled Sydney’s bed into Celeste’s room, and they were able to hold hands,” said Corcoran, a 30-year veteran of the Lowell Police Department.

VIDEO: Boston marathon explosion

He said that Celeste, who works as a hairdresser on Newbury Street in Boston, was always “such an active person,” and that “it’s going to seriously impact her career.”

“It’s just been a devastating experience,” he said. “I don’t know how we’re going to cope with this.”

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Boston Marathon bombs: Crude, unsophisticated but still deadly

Dad of 8-year-old Boston bombing victim: 'Please pray for my family'

christine.mai-duc@latimes.com

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