May 29, 2013 at 8:44 AM ET
Sydney Corcoran has been called a survivor and an inspiration. This week, she gained a new title: prom queen.
The 18-year-old Boston Marathon bombing victim reunited with classmates from her Lowell, Mass., school to attend her senior prom Tuesday, just six weeks after nearly bleeding to death from her leg wounds.
“I keep feeling like I'm going to cry cause I'm just happy to be back,” said Corcoran, who decorated the crutches she used to attend the dance. “See now I'm going to start crying! It's just really good to see everyone."
Corcoran and her family were at the Boston Marathon to cheer on her aunt. The explosion separated her from her parents and temporarily left her fearing she had been orphaned. Her parents survived but her mother’s injuries were so severe that both her legs were amputated. The two women recovered in the same Boston hospital room.
At the time, it was hard for Corcoran to imagine herself returning to school for something like prom.
"When I was in the hospital, I didn't think this was going to be possible and I got to the rehab and, because I was up and I was doing stuff, it felt more like I could do it. And it was a goal,” she said.
While her mother remains in rehabilitation, she took time out to help her daughter get primped for the big dance.
"She still wanted to help out and she was determined to, so she made sure that she did my toes,” Corcoran said.
Getting ready for the dance also meant an emotional return to Boston to head to her mother’s hairstyling salon. The ride brought up a lot of fearful memories for Corcoran, who continues to recover emotionally as well as physically.
"Each time I go in it's scary. The first time, the entire car ride — I just had like flashbacks,” she said.
But Corcoran said the outpouring of public support she has received has helped given her courage and strength to continue her recovery.
"It means so much to me, and it's not just in the United States, there's people all over the world that have reached out to me,” she said. “See? I'm going to start crying. It’s so touching to me."
Corcoran has another week to prepare for her next milestone: She graduates from high school on June 7.