STONEHAM - It's a story of incredible heartache and unimaginable perseverance.
This Wednesday morning, after spending more than 100 days hospitalized while recovering from grisly injuries sustained in the twin bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last April, Stoneham native Marc Fucarile became the last of more than 260 people injured in the blasts to be discharged from a medical facility.
Fucarile's relatives, doctors and therapists gathered at the lobby of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown on Wednesday morning to say farewell as he headed home for the first time since the April 15 bombings.
"Wednesday will be 100 days! There are no words to describe how happy and relieved the family is to finally have a date set to bring my brother home," commented Fucarile's sister, Stephanie Fucarile Baron, on a social media page established to give updates on her brother.
"Thank you all again, and please continue to keep Marc in your prayers. Marc, you have been an inspiration to all and deserve nothing but the best. We love you," his sister continued.
The SHS alumnus is one of six people who either reside or were born in Stoneham injured in the marathon bombings. Two other people with Fucarile at the finish line also lost their legs, while other local victims sustained injuries ranging from third degree burns, to shrapnel wounds, to hearing loss.
Fucarile, whose brother Edward is a member of the Stoneham Police Dept., was perhaps the most severely-wounded victim with local connections.
Besides losing his right leg above his knee, he also had shrapnel lodged near his heart and sustained first, second, and third degree burns over most of his body. His left leg, which doctors for a while worried might also have to be amputated, was fractured in several places.
Brought in the wake of the bombings to Mass. General Hospital, Fucarile was reportedly unconscious and unable to communicate with family members for nearly a week, before he finally awoke and was able to speak with his fiancé, Jen Regan.
Since being hospitalized, the town native has been to the operating room 15 times, when doctors performed 45 different operative procedures. While in the Charlestown hospital, he has endured grueling rehabilitation sessions, while also struggling from infections in his amputated right leg, where several bone spurs also grew.
"Eighty-four days later and Marc is still not home," his sister despaired in one posting to the webpage established for Fucarile. "He still remains at Spaulding Hospital and has not spent one night at home with his son Gavin and fiancé Jen."
"Marc is still working harder than ever to get home to Gavin, Jen, and our entire family," Baron would write 11 days later, as her sibling recovered from his latest surgical procedure. "Marc, we love you so much and are so unbelievably proud of you. You amaze us every day. Your strength and determination is incredible. You are the strongest person we know."
As Fucarile heads home, supporters continue to raise money on his behalf to help defray the medical bills associated with his recovery. More than $100,000 has already been contributed, but his family hopes to raise about $500,000.
To make a contribution, log on to helpmarcfucarile.com. Donations can also be mailed to The Marc Fucarile Fund; c/o Stoneham ME Federal Credit Union; 40 Pine Street; Stoneham, MA 02180.
Also, on Saturday, Sept. 21, a motorcycle ride and fundraiser for Marc will be hosted at the Billerica Elks. The ride is expected to begin at 10 a.m., and the fundraiser, which will include food, raffles, and live music, will follow between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.
(Excerpts from Associated Press materials were used in this report.)