WBUR Oral History Project: Brittany Loring and Hafsa Lewis LaBreche
Brittany Loring and Hafsa Lewis LaBreche
Interviewed by: Joanna Shea O'Brien
Date: April 26, 2014
Recorder: Joanna Shea O'Brien
Photo: Board members for the Brittany Fund for Trauma & Recovery (from left to right: Patricia Jones, Anthony Morse, Alyssa Tirella, Brittany Loring, Hafsa LaBreche and Veronika Patty.
Brittany Loring has a joint JD and MBA from Boston College, and currently works in international tax law. Hafsa Lewis Labreche graduated from Lasell College in 2008 and is a Marketing Operations and Events Specialist at Maxwell Health in Boston, MA. On Monday April 15, 2013, these two women did not know each other, but their lives would intersect and be profoundly changed. Both Brittany and Hafsa were in Boston to cheer on friends running the Boston Marathon. Brittany was near the finish line when she was hit by the blast of the first bomb, which seriously injured her head, hand and legs. Brittany knew instantly it was a bomb and realized she had to get away from the site. Separated from her friend in the chaos, she began walking in search of help, not knowing the extent of her injuries. She turned a corner and three first responders began to help her.
At the same time, Hafsa was also with a friend near the finish line during the blasts. Hafsa and her friend, both uninjured but desperately trying to get in touch with their partners, moved away from the finish line. Hafsa spotted Brittany and noticed her leg wound, so she helped guide Brittany to a wall to sit down. Hafsa helped staunch the blood from Brittany’s bleeding hand and leg, and spoke to her to calm her down. Hafsa describes her EMT training that helped her in the moment. A Boston Athletic Association Volunteer, Alex (who later became friends with Brittany), came over with a wheelchair to bring Brittany to an ambulance. Brittany talks about that confusing and surreal experience, while Hafsa describes Alex wheeling her away as if in slow motion. At the time, Hafsa didn’t know Brittany’s last name and knew only that Brittany was 28, when in fact Brittany turned 29 on that Marathon Monday.
Hafsa and Brittany describe the aftermath of their experiences and reflect on how that Monday changed their lives. In 2013, Brittany founded the Brittany Loring Trauma Fund to help support families and individuals affected by traumatic events through financial support to allow survivors to focus on their physical and emotional recovery. Hafsa and Brittany became close friends, along with Brittany’s other first responders. Hafsa is a Board Member of Brittany’s non profit and also began distance running in the aftermath, competing in the Boston Marathon and other races to raise funds for Brittany’s non profit.
Audio Clip 1
Brittany describes what happened to her on the day of the bombing.
Audio Clip 2
Hafsa shares her story of Marathon Monday, 2013.
Audio Clip 3
Brittany and Hafsa discuss how they coped in the aftermath and how their friendships with others and each other helped them heal.
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