Foundation honors youngest Marathon bombing victim

BRAINTREE, Mass. (WWLP) – On April 13, 2013, eight year-old Martin Richard ran in Boston’s annual Youth Relay Race on Boylston Street.

Participating in the race was just the kind of thing that he liked to do, family spokesperson Larry Marchese says. “He loved sports, he loved to be outdoors. He was a tough little guy and he was a funny little guy, but he was also compassionate,” Marchese said.

“He was the kid that made sure everybody got to play.”

Two days following his Boylston Street run, Martin became the youngest victim to lose his life in the bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line, right on Boylston Street.

A year later, 100 members of team MR8, a team named for the eight year old Martin Richard, ran in the 2014 Boston Marathon to raise money for the recently-founded Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation.

Marchese, a longtime friend to the Richard family, says Martin’s parents intend to use the foundation is to show that their son’s life had meaning, to move forward in his honor, and to inspire Martin’s message of peace.

“Martin Richard was recognized at his school as a peacemaker. That was a designation it wasn’t something everyone got, it was just for the select few and that’s who he was,” Marchese said.

The family’s strength also shines in Martin’s little sister, Jane a now-full-of-energy eight year old, Jane was just 7 when she lost her leg to the bombings. After 10 weeks in the hospital and several surgeries, Jane’s love for Irish Step Dancing remains strong. She’s working hard in physical therapy to get back dancing again.

Over the last year of grieving, and healing, the Richard family’s message has remained clear.

“Better to look forward at what these bombs could not do, than it is to look back at what these bombs did,” Marchese said.

The Martin Richard Charitable Foundation has surpassed several fundraising goals, and is well on its way to raising $1 million.

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