Breaking News Emails
Six Florida nightclub shooting victims still in the hospital this weekend received some special visitors with unique insight into their situation: survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
The 10 marathon victims, along with service dogs, visited the patients in their hospital rooms at the Orlando Regional Medical Center
The visit was set up by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer's office to boost the morale of survivors of the massacre that left 49 dead and over 50 injured at the city's Pulse nightclub.
Boston bombing survivor Dave Fortier explained that through the kindness of businesses like JetBlue, Uber, and AirBnB they were able to gather a pretty large group together to make sure they could get down to visit the nightclub victims in Orlando.
"It's a lot of talking, learning about their families and where they are all from. We are able to relate on a scale some folks may not be able to do," Fortier told NBC News on Sunday, as he was still with one of the Pulse victims. "We are showing them some of the things we learned."
Boston bombing survivor Celeste Corcoran, her daughter Sydney, and Fortier — along with their service dogs Sebastian, Koda and Zealand — met with Pulse survivor Angel Colon in order to give him advice and support.
"There's post-traumatic stress and it helps to talk with someone who has been through similar situations," said Corcoran, a double amputee.
"People who try and spread hate — it does the exact opposite, it brings together strangers and we are more tolerant of people," said Corcoran. "What happened was horrific and should never have happened but in their memory we choose to be nice to someone else, to pay it forward."
"You are Orlando Strong, we are Boston Strong, we are family now," Sydney Corcoran told Angel.
The two groups of survivors shared their experiences and exchanged contact information to ensure that they would meet up again, they said. Two Boston survivors, Eliza Gedney and Michelle L'Heureux, even invited Pulse survivor Rodney Sumter to come to the Boston Marathon with them next April.
"I want to be there," Sumter said.