Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sister of killed eight-year-old has 11th leg operation

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BOSTON -- The younger sister of the eight-year-old boy killed in the Boston Marathon bombings has undergone what her family calls a "milestone" 11th operation on her left leg, which she lost below the knee, they said in a statement Thursday.

The surgery performed Wednesday on seven-year-old Jane Richard at Boston Children's Hospital closed the wound and will allow for the eventual fitting of a prosthesis, the family said. "If things go well, Jane could be ready to transition to the rehabilitation stage of her recovery in the next few weeks," their statement said.

Jane still faces additional surgeries.

Her eight-year-old brother, Martin, was one of three people killed in the April 15 explosions at the marathon finish line. The entire family was within feet of the second blast.

The bombing suspects, one of whom died in a shootout with police, are also thought to be responsible for the shooting death of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer.

In addition to all of the surgeries, Jane also has had to fight off infections and other complications. She was unable to communicate with her parents and doctors for two weeks and did not know at first that her brother was dead.

"There are not words to describe how hard sharing this heartbreaking news was on all of us," the family said in the statement.

Another son, Henry, 11, who was uninjured, has returned to school.

Their parents, Bill and Denise Richard, were also injured in the explosions but were released after a week in hospital. Denise Richard still has not recovered sight in one eye. Bill Richard is healing from shrapnel wounds and burns, but he has not yet completely recovered from hearing loss.

"It will be several months before we know what, if any improvement Denise or Bill will experience," the statement said.

The family also acknowledged the strength they draw from the support they have received in the weeks since the bombings.

"The outpouring of support from friends, family and total strangers has been incredible, and it is uplifting to our family in this most painful and difficult time. Well-wishes reach us, and they help more than anyone can know," they said.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 10, 2013 A19

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