Boston College sophomore Jack Manning is the first recipient of the Boston College Strong Scholarship, awarded Monday by two Boston Marathon bombings survivors.
Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky were both severely injured in the 2013 bombings, each losing one leg due to their injuries, and Kensky would lose her other leg to amputation about a year and a half later.
Downes is a BC alumnus who graduated in 2005, and friends from that class raised money toward a scholarship to honor the couple, according to the school. So far, nearly 1,000 people have raised about $400,000.
Manning is the first recipient of that scholarship, which will help cover his four years of study at Boston College. He lost one of his legs to cancer 10 years ago and now supports and mentors young cancer patients who may lose limbs.
“Jess and I were thrilled when we heard about Jack and his story of perseverance in the face of adversity,” Downes said in a statement. “He is exactly the type of student we want to acknowledge and celebrate.”
At eight years old, Manning was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of cancer that begins in the bones. He underwent months of chemotherapy before doctors performed rotationplasty, a procedure for which a portion of a limb is removed, and the lower part of the limb is rotated and reattached.
Manning’s cancerous tumor, along with a section of his leg around the knee, were removed and the lower part of his legs was reattached, backwards, to his thigh. He went on to play football and baseball at Roxbury Latin School and has participated in the Pan Mass Challenge as a volunteer and rider.
“I am incredibly grateful to Patrick and Jessica, Boston College and all those who donated to this scholarship fund,” he said in a statement. “The time I have spent with them has been incredible. We really hit it off and talked openly about our experiences. It means a lot to be the first recipient of this scholarship.”