Carol Downing and her daughter Nicole Gross, at the start of the Boston Marathon.
Courtesy of: Gross Family
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, April 17. FORMER Lady Volunteer swimmer Nicole Gross was one of the multitude of victims caught in the Boston Marathon blasts Monday, and she has already undergone surgeries to begin to fix the injuries sustained during the terrorist attack.

Gross sustained a fractured leg and ankle, while her sister Erika Brannock had to undergo a partial amputation of one of her legs according to the Charlotte Observer. The two had been at the finish line in anticipation of welcoming their mother, Carol Downing, once she finished the race.

A fundraising site has been created to help counter the costs of the medical bills currently being accumulated to help Gross and Brannock. The site, named "Be Strong Stay Strong" is public, but will not be fully functional to process funds until Friday. To help Gross and Brannock financially, please visit www.bestrongstaystrong.net.


The Gross family also released the following statement to the media, asking for time to heal and recover from the devastating attack.

As many of you have read and seen, Nicole Gross and Erika Brannock sustained severe injuries during the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Both Nicole and Erika's injuries have required multiple surgeries. They remain hospitalized and anticipate long recoveries. Thankfully, Michael Gross sustained only minor injuries, and he has been released from the hospital.

In tragic times such as this, the outpouring of assistance offers from family, friends, and others, and their thoughts and prayers have been wonderfully overwhelming and are greatly appreciated. The caregivers at the scene and the hospitals, and the efforts of local, state, and federal agencies, have been professional and comforting during the worst of times.

As you would expect, these times have been emotionally draining, and while there is a public thirst for information, we ask for your patience and some privacy for a while as we work to recover. We also request that you refrain from using the graphic pictures of Nicole, Erika, and Michael, taken at the scene of the bombing, as they are tremendously painful for the family. They are trying to focus on the future.

Thank you for your understanding.


Gross unfortunately became an iconic figure as part of this attack as pictures of her still in shock following the blast circulated quickly around the Internet, and also wound up on the cover of the Daily News in New York. As per the Gross family request, Swimming World has declined to reprint the picture as well as the Daily News cover, though there are not many other images available from the Boston Marathon that captured the human cost that occurred as part of the massacre.