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

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, nearly five years after the marathon bombings, Gillian continues her journey toward recovery and serves as a global ambassador for Stepping Strong.

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 mission of The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation is to catalyze multidisciplinary collaborations that inspire groundbreaking innovation, effective prevention, and compassionate intervention to transform care for civilians and military heroes who endure 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

Get Involved

To learn more or to make a gift, email Justine Bryar at
To start a Stepping Strong fundraiser, email
To run on a Stepping Strong team, email
For questions about Stepping Strong programs, email Nish Acharya at