SHIRLEY - A Shirley boy is home now following treatment at Children's Hospital for injuries sustained in Monday's bombing attacks on the 117th Boston Marathon.
Seven year old James Gauntlett was near the finish line with his mother Anita and older brother Joseph when the bombs detonated.
Family friend Gigi Walker said Anita had posted photos on Facebook earlier in the day on Monday, showing the family by the finish line.
"Anita's in a running club," said Walker. Anita Gauntlett is a member of the Squannicook River Runners. The boys play baseball and football. "They're big sports fans."
"It's such a Boston thing to do in seeing the Marathon," said Walker. "And it was school vacation week."
After the bombings, Walker said Anita's Facebook friends were logging on, asking Anita for an update to make sure she was OK. No Facebook update followed on Monday.
"The next think I knew, I saw them on the news which was very scary," said Walker. "But we could tell they were alive. It was hours until we knew she was OK."
James required surgery for removal of shrapnel from his leg. "A ball bearing took a chunk out of his shin," said Walker. James has since been released from the hospital.
On Friday, Walker said she received an email from her friend, which was simply "xo" (kiss and hug).
For Walker, the Marathon tragedy hit home. "It just is so real to me. I feel like we all went to the Marathon and are one degree away," said Walker. "It's really scary to think 'This is my good friend and her family who could have been, but for the grace of God, much more injured than this."
Walker helped Anita with a statement on behalf of her family, which is as follows:
On Monday, April 15th, James Gauntlett was one of the many hundreds of individuals who was physically injured in the bombing at the finish line at the Boston Marathon. Anita and Joe were also present, but thankfully sustained no physical injuries.
Thanks to the work of first responders and the doctors at Children's Hospital, James will fully recover from his physical wounds. The entire Gauntlett family is incredibly grateful to all of the individuals-civilian volunteers and trained medical personnel-whose quick thinking and heroic actions ensured their ultimate well- being, and the well-being of hundreds of others.
Additionally, they thank everyone who has passed along prayers and offers to help.
As you may know, the Gauntlett family was watching the runners finish the marathon. When the first bomb went off, Anita rushed the children into the Sovereign Bank vestibule, and this bank now bears special significance for Anita.
As a result of being so close to the action, and given the young ages of the children, it is likely that this family will need assistance over the long term, especially as the children work through what happened and address their feelings about what they saw and experienced.
In lieu of other gestures, the Gauntlett family asks that supporters and well-wishers donate to a recovery fund that has been established for them.
Additionally, a one mile walk in Groton has been organized for this Sunday, April 21st. All of the details are not yet finalized, but will be posted once they are.
Donations can be made to:
Recovery Fund for Gauntlett Family
One Park Street
Ayer, MA 01432
Follow Mary Arata at twitter.com/maryearata.