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Bombing Survivor Overcomes 'Invisible Injuries' To Run First Boston Marathon

BOSTON (CBS) - A Boston Marathon bombing survivor hopes to be at the finish line for a different reason Monday.

Bombing victim and Boston area business consultant Jennifer Kauffman will be a runner in this year's marathon.

For Kauffman, the road to running the marathon began with her experiences in those chaotic moments when the bombs exploded.

"People were running. People were screaming for help. People were laying on the ground in a pool of blood. It was absolutely horrific," Kauffman told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Joe Mathieu.

Kauffman and her friend left the scene and eventually walked to Cambridge, several miles away. It was in Cambridge that she realized she was badly injured.

Those injuries were significant.

"My abdomen was swollen. I looked like I was pregnant and I was in excruciating pain," she said. "They were doing all sorts of tests and were having trouble pinpointing what was wrong."

After several hours at the hospital, and after an MRI drug made her sick, she checked out of the hospital and put herself under the care of her aunt, who is a nurse.

Jennifer Kauffman
Jennifer Kauffman. (WBZ-TV)

Though it's been years of learning what was wrong, she says, "My healing journey has been a marathon."

"When the body has been through trauma and you have multiple, invisible injuries, the body has a natural way of prioritizing what needs to heal first," she said.

Kauffman says she had several major issues to overcome.

"I had problems with my ears. I had ringing in my ears so I had tinnitus and hearing loss as a result of that explosion. I had spinal injuries that day that prevented me from walking normal for the first five or six months," Kauffman said.

"I had nerve damage and skeletal damage. I was wearing a camera with a long lens. When the explosion went off I got slammed into the barricade. So that protruded my abdomen so all my major organs were swollen."

She has been active in area support groups who were also injured or impacted by the events of that day. She says the support groups have been helpful in her recovery process. She says that she's finally regaining her strength.

"I was physically active before all this happened. So now I'm starting to gain some of that back," she said.

Kauffman also says she had a daily training routine.

"Daily it's a combination of things I do for my healing process. I also do anything from bike training, to treadmill training, or outdoor training if it's nice out, to yoga actually," Kauffman said.

She feels that when she sees that finish line, she will have come full circle.

"When this happened, I was at the top of my game in my life. My business had a record year. I had just signed a book publishing deal and this happened," she said.

Now she says she has a new perspective on life.

"I've had four years to think about that. I've now started to realize I'm here for a bigger purpose and it's now time to go out and fulfill it," Kauffman said.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Joe Mathieu reports

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