TODAY | March 18, 2014
>> and we're back now with an update on "today's" "shine a light" campaign. natalie chose to focus on people still recovering from the horrific events at last year's boston marathon . one family in particular touched natalie 's heart. and she's been checking in with them over the last year.
>> 117 running at the boston marathon .
>> on april 15th last year, over 26,000 people crossed the starting line of the boston marathon . among them carmen who was hoping to complete her first marathon. like many, she wouldn't reach the finish line .
>> terror in boston .
>> there was a great deal of chaos. debris flying in their faces.
>> in the crowd at the finish line , carmen 's sister celeste , celeste 's daughter sidney , and husband kevin.
>> i have a vivid memory of seeing my daughter and friends being blown back. i think my wife took the brunt of the impact.
>> i was terrified my family was all gone.
>> not gone, but severely injured, celeste lost both of her legs in the carnage. her husband kevin applied a life-saving tourncate. the road to recovery for this family has not been easy, but they remain boston strong.
>> i believe if you kind of persevere and believe in yourself, you have to dig down deep inside and be like, i can do this.
>> reporter: this has been a year of new beginnings. a high school prom.
>> it feels really good to see everyone.
>> and graduation.
>> sidney --
>> celeste received new legs courtesy of the challenged athletes foundation. she started running herself and is back behind the wheel.
>> right foot pushes down.
>> and the stylist has even gotten the scissors back in her hand.
>> i'm honored.
>> they have done so much in the last year to get their lives back together again. they've shown us their strength, their resilience, their courage.
>> now, along with carmen , together will take the next step.
>> i'm making it my goal to run the boston marathon . they've shown us not only how to be boston strong but america strong.
>> natalie 's been doing a lot of training, and as a matter of fact, she is out here close to the plaza. natalie , where are you?
>> hey, i'm right up the street, matt, on 49th, and i'm here with carmen , who you saw there in that piece. i've been following their journey. this is the race, carmen , you couldn't finish last year. this time is your year. how are you feeling about it?
>> feeling great.
>> training is going well?
>> going great. i'm ready.
>> and of course, at the finish line will be your sister celeste and sidney her daughter, your niece.
>> hi! nice to see you.
>> so exciting to see you here. how are you feeling, celeste ? you look amazing.
>> thank you, i'm feeling fantastic.
>> you had a great recovery. seems like you're doing really well emotionally, physically, even standing on these great legs of yours. are you ready to be there at the finish line ?
>> i don't know about that. yes, i'm ready to be there, but it's going to be very, very emotional. and, you know, there's been ups and downs . lately more ups than downs. so i think we're headed in the right direction. and this is going to be a positive reclaiming of a space that was taken away from us. something that was taken away from us. we need to reclaim this.
>> yeah. i won't say what david ortiz said. but i know what you're thinking. you just started college, is that true?
>> life back to normal for you? or is there a new normal?
>> there's definitely a new normal. i don't think we'll ever get the normal that we had before, but i think we'll definitely find a new normal. haven't found it yet. but we're getting closer to it, i think.
>> i want to do a little something here. race day is going to be a very, very big day . the executive director of the boston athletic association . tom, you've got a little something to talk about?
>> i do. as we'll talk about resilience. first, we've got people who want to go out and run a race. and to do that, you have to qualify, you have to enter, and you have to have your race. here's yours as a qualified entrant.
>> numbers at a later date, yes?
>> and carmen , you're number two.
>> and celeste and sidney have honorary bibs. but if this race is about anybody, it's about them. ladies --
>> team boston strong.
>> on the day of the race , how do you walk the line between paying tribute to those who were so impacted by what happened last year and continue to carry on a race that is a great athletic event?
>> well, there'll be a great many tribute events leading up to monday's boston marathon . that day, what we hope will have is a return to the boston marathon . an international athletic event focused on excellence and competition, but also looking at the history, particularly last year, and i think the crowd of hundreds of thousands of people will provide all the celebration and tribute that we need.
>> yeah. and natalie , i know you're running the race this year not only to support these nice people but also for some great charities.
>> really important charities. the one fund which has done so much in the long-term recovery of the victims and their families and also the challenged athletes foundation. and they do a tremendous job of giving support and the -- giving kids and people of all physical abilities the opportunities to remain athletic and to do tours.
>> it 's wonderful . i think more than any year in the past, this year is not about a time.
>> now that i've said that, you want to predict a time?
>> i'm trying to break 3:30. but i'm happy to be doing it for a great cause.
>> i'm not trying to break 3:30.
>> we're just trying to get to the finish and be here to support everybody. thank you so much. and i do need your help to help raise money to donate to the one fund or the challenge. go to my fund raising page crowdrise.com/ natalie .
>> thank you so much. really appreciate it.
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