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Stories of the wounded in Boston Marathon bombing

Friday - 4/19/2013, 5:42am  ET

In this photo provided by the Hern family, first lady Michelle Obama, right, visits with Aaron Hern, lower left, his parents Alan and Katherine, and sister Abby, all of Martinez, Calif., at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston Thursday, April 18, 2013. Aaron Hern, 11, was among those injured by one of the bomb blasts near the Boston Marathon finish line Monday. (AP Photo/Hern Family)

The Associated Press

The twin bombs at the Boston Marathon killed Lu Lingzi, a 23-year-old Boston University student from China; 8-year-old spectator Martin Richard; and 29-year-old spectator Krystle Campbell. But it also injured more than 180 people: runners, couples, spectators, children. Some are in grave condition; some lost limbs or senses; all their lives will be forever touched by the bombings. Here are some of their stories.

CELESTE AND SYDNEY CORCORAN: HOLDING HANDS

Celeste Corcoran is a hairstylist on upscale Newbury Street, not far from the site of the bombing. Her daughter, Sydney, 17, is a senior at Lowell High School.

Celeste lost both legs below the knee and Sydney has severe injuries as well, cousin Alyssa Carter said in a fundraising page set up at GoFundMe.com. The page had raised more than $320,000 by Thursday evening.

Family members said Celeste was being incredibly positive. Her sister, Carmen Acabbo, told WJAR-TV that Celeste joked she "would be a hairstylist on wheels now."

Sydney has been through tough times before. She was hit by a car while crossing a street less than two years ago and fought to recover from a fractured skull, the Lowell Sun reported.

Nurses at Boston Medical Center were ultimately able to get the mother and daughter into the same hospital room.

"Their beds are pushed together," Carter wrote, "so they can hold hands."

ERIKA BRANNOCK AND NICOLE GROSS: A MOTHER'S GUILT

Carol Downing asks herself if she could have done something differently that would have spared her daughters from Monday's bombing.

Downing was about to cross the finish line in her first Boston Marathon when the bombs went off.

Daughter Nicole Gross, 31, is a personal trainer and triathlete in North Carolina at the Charlotte Athletic Club, where her husband, Michael, is general manager. She helped her mother prepare for the race.

Downing's younger daughter, Erika Brannock, 29, teaches 2-year-olds at a preschool at Trinity Episcopal Church in Towson, Md.

Erika's leg had to be amputated. Nicole's left leg was broken and right ankle was fractured, according to WCNC-TV. Michael had injuries including third-degree burns.

Downing told WCNC that it was supposed to be a fun weekend and that her daughters were so proud of her. Then the "what ifs?" came pouring out.

"What if I hadn't qualified? What if I hadn't come? What if I had gotten sick and couldn't come?" she asked. "What if I had run faster? What if they had stood someplace different?"

AARON HERN: SPECIAL VISITOR

Eleven-year-old Aaron Hern of Martinez, Calif., got a special visitor on Thursday.

The Kiwanis Club in his hometown posted a photo online showing Aaron and his family in his room at Boston Children's Hospital with first lady Michelle Obama. She and President Barack Obama came to Boston for an interfaith service and to visit people injured in the Boston Marathon bombings.

Aaron suffered leg wounds when the bomb went off. He was there with his father, Alan, and younger sister, Abby, to cheer his mother, Katherine, in her first Boston Marathon.

Aaron remained in critical condition Thursday, but The San Francisco Chronicle reported Aaron's mother said in a Facebook message to family and friends that he may be able to leave intensive care as soon as Friday. She said he had successful surgery Wednesday to close his wounds without the need for skin grafts.

MICHELLE L'HEUREUX: LOVES LIFE

Michelle L'Heureux was standing near the finish line to watch her longtime boyfriend finish his 11th Boston Marathon when the bombs exploded, according to her uncle Zoo Cain.

Shrapnel tore into L'Heureux's left shoulder and one of her legs. Falling glass from an adjacent building cut her face. She underwent a second surgery in Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital on Wednesday. Cain, who visited his niece in the hospital this week, said metal remains in her leg, but she's expected to recover physically.

The emotional damage could be long-term.

"Her life is altered forever," Cain said, noting his niece described seeing people with missing limbs, blood soaked streets and people running and screaming from what felt like a war zone.

L'Heureux, who Cain said was in her 30s, lives in suburban Boston and works in the finance industry. She is a native of Auburn, Maine.

"Michelle is a very beloved aunt" to her younger sister's daughters and loves her dogs, Cain said.

L'Heureux's passion is horses; Cain said she used to have her own horse and participated in horse shows before moving to the Boston area. He described her as a cheerful person.

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