BOSTON (AP) — Kevin White had just left a restaurant with his parents when the first of two bombs that hit the Boston Marathon exploded about 10 feet away. The force of the blast, he said Wednesday, was so strong that it slammed them to the ground, breaking some of his mother's bones and tearing his father's right foot so badly surgeons had to amputate it.
In that instant, the lives of Bill, Mary Jo and Kevin White changed.
Kevin White, who lives in Boston and Chicago, spoke Wednesday evening shortly after he was released from Boston Medical Center, where he was treated following the twin bombings that killed three people and injured more than 170 others two days earlier.
White, who briefly lost consciousness after the blast knocked him down onto shards of glass from nearby stores and sent shrapnel deep into his body, was looking forward to seeing his father who is still in the intensive care unit at another hospital.
He appeared to appreciate being out of the hospital and showed flashes of humor, including when he described the most difficult moment in the bombings.
"Having a bomb blow up next to you is probably the most difficult moment," White, 35, said with a straight face, followed by a flicker of a mischievous smile. Then he added on a more serious note: "Not knowing where my parents were after the bomb blew up, that was the most difficult moment because we were separated."
"I didn't know whether they were in trouble, if they were badly hurt, that was the most difficult," he said while sitting next to his brother, Andrew, who flew in from Portland, Ore., soon after the attacks.
Kevin White was treated at the scene and was later taken by ambulance to Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital, where emergency physicians removed shrapnel from his face and elsewhere in his body, cleaned the wounds, patched him up and subsequently released him. But a seizure triggered by a concussion he suffered in the blast, together with problems with some of his wounds, led doctors at Boston Medical Center to admit him the same evening.
He still has shrapnel buried deep in his flesh
"I think that I'm lucky, in a way, that I did not receive many devastating injuries such as my father or severely broken bones" like his mother, said White, who works as in the financial services industry. "I have a lot of severe muscle injuries which will heal over time, I have a popped ear drum which will take time to hear, I have shrapnel in my skin which will take time to work its way out."
Some close family friends have an online fundraising drive to help the White family pay some of the hefty medical bills they are expected to confront during the months of treatment, recovery and rehabilitation that lie ahead, together with out-of-pocket expenses they may have to incur to make the parents' home more accessible now that Bill White has lost his foot.
The initiative had generated more than $18,400 by late Wednesday, reaching in two days nearly its original goal of raising $20,000 in a month.
"It's something that hits home for them, you know, there is a lot of tragedies around this country it's easy for some people to sit back and be like 'Well, that's terrible,' but it doesn't affect anyone that I know,'" Kevin White said. "A lot of people I've spoken to have been, like, 'Wow, this actually affects me because I know Andrew and Kevin, I know their families, I've been in their houses.'"
He said his family is very grateful for the generosity of those who've contributed to help them deal with the bombing and its aftermath.
"However we also want people to realize there are many other victims out there and there many funds which they can support which will help a lot of other people," White said.
He said well-wishers contributing to the White family fund should consider also donating to The One Fund Boston, the charity established to help families affected by the bombings.
Rodrique Ngowi can be reached at www.twitter.com/ngowi