Connecticut couple Amy and Mike Garofolo were in Boston last Monday to cheer on a friend in the marathon, but more importantly to mark a rebirth in Amy's fight with cancer.
They were mere feet away from one of the explosions.
For four hours the Middletown couple was on the sidewalk outside Forum Restaurant, waiting for their friend to cross the finish line. His slow time may have saved their lives.
“I remember him being blown back into the restaurant and going down like a rag doll. Glass everywhere and then I blacked out,” said Amy Garofolo, who says when she came to, her son Ryan was carrying her away from all the chaos.
She says it felt like she got hit by a ton of bricks. “And as we were evacuating out the back of the restaurant, I could feel blood trickling down my face.”
Amy sustained serious injuries, as did her husband Michael. He had perforated ear drums, staples in his head and burns on his hand.
“There was lots of glass. I remember the falling glass,” said Michael. “Thinking to myself, 'This isn’t good.'”
It’s still difficult for the Garofolos to process. They were in Boston that Monday for a cancer fundraiser at Forum; they were also in town to celebrate Amy’s first anniversary of her stem cell transplant.
They had come in just 30 minutes before the first bomb went off and then the second exploded.
“We were literally out by the road cheering for four hours,” Amy said.
“I think of the what ifs. The thousand different decisions. Little decisions that were made by myself or Amy and a lot of different people that affected where we were,” Michael added.
Both Mike and Amy were blown back into the restaurant. They found their kids and were evacuated out back. Mike though went back in to help out; he saw the front glass blown out and pure terror.
“And then once I got out there, it was pretty horrific,” Mike said. "Within a split second — one minute they are cheering on their friends — they're on the ground, missing body parts, wondering what the heck just happened.”
Mike was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital to be checked out and was released several hours later.
“I’m just thankful,” said Mike.
"Neither one of them has taken me down, and I’m going to fight back against both of them,” Amy added.
Amy has been battling multiple myeloma for two years and says an incident like this has made her even stronger. As for her marathon injuries, she says she had glass in her hands, cuts in her head and down her nose, but the Garofolos know luck was on their side.