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Columbia Race Supports Two Sisters Injured During Boston Marathon

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Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — Dozens of people came together Sunday afternoon to support two sisters injured during the Boston Marathon. One was so severely hurt, her leg had to be amputated.

Monday she makes her way back to Baltimore.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the fundraiser and Erika Brannock’s condition ahead of her homecoming.

The sisters’ mother was expected to run in the race, but actually flew back to Boston Sunday to bring Brannock home. Family, friends and even strangers took part.

It’s a four-mile race in Columbia to help wounded the schoolteacher her sister, Nicole Gross, pay for the mounting medical bills.

Brannock and Gross are just two of the hundreds of people severely injured when two brothers set off a bomb at the Boston Marathon on April 15.

Gross’ picture made national headlines. It illustrated the tragedy that unfolded that day.

“Just want to do what I can to help out, get some money for them and help them recuperate,” said one runner.

“We were right on top of each other when it happened, when the bomb went off, and we are going to be side by side forever,” Gross said.

The sisters broke their silence together for the first time last week. Brannock’s injuries were so brutal she lost her leg.

“I have a leg amputation above the knee on my left leg and then I have broken bones in my right leg. I have a big chunk of one of bones – I believe it’s the fibula – in one of my legs,” Brannock said.

Brannock is a pre-school teacher at Trinity Episcopal Children’s Center in Towson. She was in the crowd with her sister cheering on their mother when the bombs exploded and killed four people.

“I remember everything slowing down and just falling back in slow motion and everything went quiet,” Brannock said.

The 4.09 miles ran Sunday are a symbol of the time on the Boston Marathon race clock when the first bomb went off at four hours and nine minutes.

“I have burn marks on the back of my legs and some hearing loss too,” Brannock said.

All earnings from the $15 registration fee will be donated to the Be Strong Fund, which will help Brannock and her sister.

One suspect in the Boston bombing, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot and killed during a police shootout. His younger brother, Dhokar, remains in federal custody.

Brannock says she still wants to teach. The total amount money raised at Sunday’s fundraiser is not available just yet.

She underwent multiple surgeries to save her right leg and still has months of physical therapy left.

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