Watch CBS News

Wife of police officer wounded in Watertown shootout to run Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hospital

Wife of police officer wounded in Watertown shootout to run Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hosp
Wife of police officer wounded in Watertown shootout to run Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hosp 03:50

BOSTON - Every year, the Boston Athletic Association gives former Transit Police officer Dic Donohue a bib number for the Boston Marathon. This year, on the tenth anniversary of the marathon bombings, Dic's wife Kim will be wearing it.

"I'll take it as an opportunity for me to do something that's just me ... working on myself. Which, as a mom, isn't something you ever think of-that I'm going to do something that's just about me," she said.

The 2023 Boston Marathon will be Kim's first 26.2 mile race and, she insists, her last. She will be the first to tell you that she is not a runner. But she is a mother of three boys who is determined to recognize the incredible strides their family has made since Dic was almost killed in the Watertown shootout with the bombers. He was shot in the leg, the bullet coming dangerously close to his femoral artery. Doctors at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge saved his life-giving him more than 40 units of blood.

Once he was strong enough, Dic began four weeks of grueling rehab at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (Mass General Brigham). Kim is running for Spaulding with the victims, bombing survivors and their families in her heart. "The finish line has this strange symbolic meaning of-not just what people went through on that day-but what they continue to go through," Kim Donohue said.

Kim Donohue
Kim Donohue CBS Boston

Spaulding's Race For Rehab team started in 2005 with one runner. This year, it boasts 82 runners who have already raised more than $700,000. One of those fundraising runners is Kim's friend Pam Daskalakis. "Honestly, I'm just so impressed by her taking on this challenge and this particular year-for her and everyone-so it felt like a great time to do it," Daskalakis said.

They met when their kids were in pre-school in Reading. Initially, Pam was going to help Kim train only until Kim was able to run ten miles. At that point, Pam planned to stop training. But by the time they reached that milestone, their mutual support had created a new bond that neither wanted to let go. Pam joined the Race for Rehab team and committed to the distance. She describes the team-with its camaraderie, coaches, physical therapists, nutritionists and psychologists-as "phenomenal." 

Spaulding marathon race team
Spaulding's Race for Rehab Boston Marathon team Spaulding Rehab

Running for the hospital that helped Dic and Kim, who were parents of a six-month-old baby at the time of the shooting, feels right. "I love the motto of Find Your Strength because I think that everybody throughout their lives has a point at which you have to find your strength," Daskalakis said. "Things are thrown at you that you don't expect. You have to be strong. You have to get through it with your family, with your friends, with yourself. So to me, it's really meaningful to contribute to that."

Dic's memories of Spaulding are bittersweet. "It was a big shift in things from literally having tubes in me and being confined to a smaller space," he said. "It was a challenging four weeks. Not just for me but for the people who had to deal with me." He says, at times, the pain was "a hundred out of ten."

"We took every little single thing we could as a win," Kim remembers. "Every eye blink. Every finger motion was a win. It was slow and it was really difficult." But she says that it also helped them build resilience as a couple. Spaulding was a place where people were not focused on their differences or disabilities. Kim recalls the comfort of being around fellow bombing survivors and patients who were simply focused on regaining strength and mobility. It gave her valuable perspective. "It was really nice to be around a bunch of people who were on the same mission to live a normal life," Kim said.

Dic Donohue
Dic Donohue CBS Boston

Their life has changed dramatically in the past decade. Dic retired as an officer in 2016. Since then, he has earned his PhD from UMass Lowell. He is a full-time policy researcher at RAND with a focus on homeland security and law enforcement issues. He also provides police training to groups and businesses. The Winchester native anticipates a "particularly special" Boston Marathon this year. "Some pretty special things came out of a pretty tragic situation," he said.

Tragedy struck during Kim's training for Boston when her father died in February. He was one of the first people she called when Dic was rushed to the hospital in 2013 and one of the first to arrive to support her. "My dad, who's never been to the marathon and never had any involvement with it was suddenly involved in everything happening at the finish line, everything happening in Watertown. He very much had that same mentality of-let's look to whatever the next step is," Kim said. "Let's keep going."

Through tears, Kim explained that losing him was so painful that she had to refocus on her reason for running the marathon. "I've put so much time and energy into doing something to make the ten-year better," Kim said. "I don't want to give that up." And she won't. Her strength, built over years of challenge and-more recently-difficult miles, is serving her now. "I always think, I have Dic and my kids at home. Three healthy kids. I need to keep going," she said.

Years ago, Dic and Kim met at a bar on Boylston Street. This year, on Marathon Monday, he will be waiting for her at the Spaulding "race party" on Boylston Street with their sons, family members and friends. He is anticipating the celebration. Kim, who says she can remember clearly not being able to run a mile, is also hoping that the experience provides a sense of peace. "When I get to that finish line, somehow there will be some good from everything that was taken from us ten years ago," she said.  

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.