The Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation

The Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation

"The moment the ambulance arrived at Brigham and Women's Hospital, following the chaos at the Boston Marathon finish line in 2013, I felt safety, love, and true compassion. No words will ever fully express my gratitude to the doctors and nurses who saved my life and legs." —Gillian Reny

The Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation

On April 15, 2013, Gillian Reny stood near the finish line of the Boston Marathon with her parents, Steven and Audrey Epstein Reny, waiting for her sister Danielle to finish the race. Then two bombs went off and a beautiful day turned to heartbreaking tragedy for the Renys and all of Boston.

When first responders rushed the Renys to BWH, Audrey and Steven were treated for minor injuries while doctors and nurses worked heroically to save Gillian’s life. In the process, they also saved both of her legs—a miraculous outcome. Today, Gillian, a college sophomore, continues her journey toward recovery and serves as a global ambassador for Stepping Strong. She is among the 39 individuals with life-threatening injuries who were treated and saved by BWH on that fateful day.

Turning Tragedy Into Hope

Inspired by Gillian’s resilience—and forever grateful to the BWH team that saved her life—the Reny family established the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund in February 2014. Less than two years later, building on the incredible growth and momentum of the fund, BWH President Betsy Nabel, MD, announced her intention to expand the fund from a virtual program into a physical hub dedicated to collaborative efforts in trauma research and recovery. The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation opened officially in January 2017 in BWH’s new Building for Transformative Medicine.

The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation seeks to mobilize the full potential of interdisciplinary innovation to fuel trauma research and care for the benefit of civilians and military personnel worldwide who have suffered from the devastation of traumatic injuries and events.

“We are so grateful to the tens of thousands of people from across the globe who are helping to turn the Boston Marathon tragedy into hope for trauma patients. Together we are fueling innovation, creating much needed awareness, and proving that the goodness of the human spirit prevails.” —Audrey Epstein Reny

For information on making a gift to The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation, please contact Catherine J. Young at or 617-424-4316.