By Shelby O’Neill
Recovering, giving back and just genuinely enjoying life is how Boston Marathon victim Brittany Loring is spending her summer. The daughter of Dan Loring, associate with the North Central (Mass.) market center, Brittany was only two weeks away from completing her dual MBA/law degree and preparing to start work in the international tax department at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) when she suffered injuries in the devastating Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013. Two days earlier she had been fitted for a wedding dress at a local bridal shop for her nuptials to her boyfriend of nearly nine years.
Dan was on vacation in Mexico when he heard about the bombing. He had called Brittany that morning to wish her a happy birthday, and that afternoon, called and texted again with no response. When he tried calling family members, he couldn’t get through because cell service was down throughout Boston. Finally, a text from Brittany reached him. It read: “Hurt at Boston Medical.”
"I knew it was bad when I received that message," Dan Loring says. "I called my friend back in Burlington, Mass., and asked him to help me get home on the next flight. I had one hour to get to the plane, and the airport was 35 minutes from my hotel. The cab driver drove at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour to get me there. When I arrived, US Airways held the plane and did everything to get me home. After a three-leg, 14-hour flight, I arrived in Boston and reached my daughter's bedside at 9:30 a.m. I was relieved that she was alive and had all her body parts. It was so difficult to process but the Red Cross was amazing with their mental and religious staff. It made the situation manageable."
During the next two weeks, he stayed in Brittany's Cambridge apartment to be closer to the hospital, while her fiancé, John, spent each night in Brittany's hospital room. Dan worked with Boston College to get her final requirements waived for her degree and also helped make her apartment handicap accessible.
While the family recovered, Keller Williams agents, both in Dan's market center and across the country, stepped in to help their fellow agent and his daughter.
"The Keller Williams family has been by our side since the attack," Dan said. "Agents came to my aid to help get her apartment ready for her return from the hospital. We were pleased to see the email go out to all the agents in the company from Gary Keller and the entire executive leadership team. I received calls and emails from KW Cares and KW agents from all over the country. So many Keller Williams agents have donated to Brittany's recovery fund. The very first afternoon, they donated more than $1,000. The support has been just what I needed to get through this difficult time. It is true that we are family at Keller Williams. I have supported KW Cares since 2007, and now I understand how important the support is to the families."
"The Keller Williams family has been by our side since the attack. I received calls and emails from KW Cares and KW agents from all over the country. So many Keller Williams agents have donated to Brittany's recovery fund. The very first afternoon, they donated more than $1,000." - Dan Loring
Dan helped start the North Central market center in Leominster, Mass., in 2007, and right after the bombing, Team Leader Mark Kavanagh and the rest of the Leominster team went to work to help the Lorings. As a student, Brittany has limited health insurance, and Homeland Security only pays $25,000 toward medical expenses, so Kavanagh and his team established a fundraising account at a local bank and created a page they publicized through Keller Williams online channels. Kavanagh and neighboring Westborough Team Leader Jim Keenan and his wife have planned a fundraising run and walk on July 14 in Devens, Mass.
"Our local and regional Keller Williams families certainly have formed stronger bonds through the outpouring of support and care that has been exhibited almost universally," Kavanagh says. "The foresight to be ever-prepared to assist with tragedy and turmoil in the lives of our associates and their families allows for a feeling of comfort when those storm seas rise up."
Brittany, an avid runner, will walk in the fundraising event alongside family and friends. In the meantime, she continues to get support from all different kinds of people, from neighbors offering to pick up groceries and a grade school choir concert benefit to reunions with first responders and a visit from the New England Patriots.
"All of that gave me something to think of and focus on," Brittany says. "It reminds you of the world around you and what life will be like going forward. Recognizing how many people care and how much positivity there is in the world adds to the will to get better.
"I want Keller Williams agents and Keller Williams as a whole to know how appreciative I am of the support that's been given to me and my family," she continues. "Every message, every card - it was so touching, so heartwarming. It's been really helpful in my recovery, and I want the entire community to know how thankful I am."
To find out more about the Lorings or to donate to Brittany's recovery fund, please visit (www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/f582/recoveryforbrittany).