Running to advance trauma research

Running to advance trauma research

Audrey and Gillian Reny

On April 15, 2013, Audrey Epstein Reny stood at the finish line of the Boston Marathon with her husband Steven, and daughter Gillian, waiting to see her older daughter, Danielle, cross the finish line. When two bombs went off, a beautiful day turned into heartbreaking tragedy for the Reny family and all of Boston. Gillian, a gifted 18-year-old dancer and innocent bystander, was critically injured and rushed to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), where a multidisciplinary trauma team saved her life and her legs.

Audrey and Steven both sustained injuries in the bombings. But both say their injuries paled in comparison to what Gillian experienced and what she continues to face in her long recovery.

With gratitude to the medical heroes who saved Gillian’s life and limbs, the Renys launched the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund at BWH in February 2014. Through the fund, they are fueling innovative trauma research, world class training, and advanced clinical care that will help other civilian trauma patients and wounded soldiers.

As a passionate champion for the fund, Audrey has made it her mission to turn her family’s tragedy into hope for future trauma patients. Her goal is to raise funds for the Stepping Strong initiatives and awareness about trauma’s staggering impact on society while building on the spirit of humanity and goodwill that defined the response to the Boston Marathon bombings.

That’s why she is running her sixth Boston Marathon—and her third as the proud captain of the Stepping Strong team. "I run to honor the resilience and determination of my daughter Gillian, who has inspired trauma patients and families around the world with her incredible strength and positive spirit. As she works hard at her recovery and rehabilitation, Gillian is teaching us all the true meaning of stepping strong."

To learn more about the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund, visit