SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A new children’s book is proving to be the best medicine for a local couple injured in the Boston Marathon bombing.
Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky say their road to recovery took a dramatic turn when “Rescue,” their service dog, came into their lives. They’re now sharing their journey of struggle and success with children at Shriners Children’s Hospital to show them they’re not alone in their fight.
“They have all sorts of questions about why our legs look the way they do, how they work, and what Rescue can do for us,” Downes said. “And we’ve had these great interactions with them and talking about what it means to be a person with a physical disability, and the book is a formal way to have that conversation with kids.”
Weaved within these pages, pediatric patients are finding a piece of themselves in the story.
“If we can provide them a light-hearted afternoon, if we can provide them a tool to have a conversation about their injuries, their medical devices, the sadness that comes with all of this, but also the love and hope that comes with having a companion by your side, then we will feel like we have accomplished something really powerful,” Downes said.
Downes lost part of his leg in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. His wife Jessica Kensky lost both legs.
Up until last summer, Kensky was a full-time patient learning how to walk again with prosthetics.
“The surgeries and the infections and setbacks just kept coming. Especially from being a blast trauma amputee, there’s a lot of unique situations and medical predicaments that you find yourself in,” Kensky said.
But with the exhausting emotional investment that comes with rehabilitation also came “Rescue,” Kensky’s service dog.
The couple writes about the bond between the two in the children’s book: “Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship.”
In it, they tackle the highs and lows that come with hospital stays, surgeries and physical limitations.
“They get the emotional sophistication of this, they get the sadness, they get the happiness,” Downes said. “And they’re fascinated by illustrations that show Jessica’s prosthetic legs.”
Patrick and Jessica are visiting schools and hospitals all around the country right now to promote the book.