The twin bombs at the Boston Marathon killed Lu Lingzi, a Boston University student from China; 8-year-old spectator Martin Richard; and 29-year-old spectator Krystle Campbell. But it also injured more than 170 people: runners, couples, spectators, children. Some are in grave condition; some lost limbs or senses; all their lives will be forever touched by the bombings. Here are some of their stories.
AARON HERN: A TOUGH COOKIE
Eleven-year-old Aaron Hern was there with his father, Alan, and little sister, Abby, to cheer on his mother, Katherine, in her first Boston Marathon when the bomb went off. After initially becoming separated, Alan found his son lying injured on the ground with leg wounds.
"He was conscious, he talked to me and said, `My leg really hurts, daddy,' but he was being pretty brave," Alan Hern told KGO-TV.
The family is from Martinez, Calif., and Alan Hern is the Alhambra High School varsity football coach, KGO reported.
Aaron remained in critical condition at Boston Children's Hospital on Wednesday and underwent three to four hours of surgery on his leg, the hospital said.
His mother said in a note posted online by Kiwanis Club of Martinez that Aaron was trying harder and harder to communicate through a touchpad. She said it was stressful because he was starting to remember everything and getting upset.
The mother of Aaron's best friend, Katherine Chapman, told The San Francisco Chronicle that Aaron was an outgoing and fun-loving kid.
"A tough cookie, an athlete and a scholar. He gets good grades and participates in every sport and is good at everything he does. He's one of those kids that everybody loves," she said.
His 12th birthday is May 1.
PATRICK AND JESSICA DOWNES: NEWLYWEDS
Patrick and Jessica Downes married in August. According to an email sent to friends, Patrick had surgery Wednesday and is out of intensive care, while Jessica was in surgery. Both lost their left leg below the knee, and Jessica was in danger of losing her remaining foot.
Friends who set up a page at GiveForward.com to raise money for the couple's expenses said they first started dating in 2006.
Patrick graduated from Boston College and was so well-behaved in high school that he was nicknamed "Jesus." They described him as the "ultimate Boston boy."
"He has that accent that makes it impossible to tell if he's saying `parking' or `packing,' he's no more than two degrees of separation from Whitey Bulger (or so he claims), and he cried his eyes out when the Sox finally won the World Series," the site said.
Jessica, described as a sassy California girl, is a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital.
"She has the spirit of a lion," the site said.
A spokesman for GiveForward.com said the page got so many hits Wednesday that it crashed.
JARROD CLOWERY: `GET INTO THE STREET'
Jarrod Clowery and his friends were cheering on spectators when he heard the first explosion.
"I got this feeling that we need to get into the street," Clowery said.
Clowery, 35, a carpenter, hopped over one of the metal barricades that separates spectators on the sidewalk from runners on the course when the second blast went off behind him.
"Because I was elevated on the railing I think I avoided major, major injury," Clowery said, adding that his friends were injured much more severely.
Clowery said his hearing was diminished by about 85 percent. He has shrapnel embedded in the back of his leg and suffered flash burns.
"The Lord was watching over me, somebody was watching over me," Clowery said. "And I feel very blessed."
JOHN ODOM: CHEERING HIS DAUGHTER
John Odom's daughter, Nicole Reis, was running the marathon as a member of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation Marathon team, and he was there to support her. Her husband, Matt Reis, is the goalie for the Major League Soccer team the New England Revolution.
Odom was around 10 feet away from the first bomb when it went off, Matt Reis told reporters at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on Wednesday, where he visited to thank teammates for their support. Odom remained in critical condition and had undergone three surgeries in about 40 hours, he said.
"He hasn't really stabilized yet, and we're still hoping," he said. "He is progressing a little bit, but we're talking about footsteps here and not very big strides."
HEATHER ABBOTT: BEST FRIEND TURNED, FOUND HER GONE
Heather Abbott, of Newport, R.I., was entering a bar with friends as the bomb went off. Her best friend, Jason Geremia, told WJAR-TV that everyone ran out the back. Once he got there, he realized Abbott wasn't with him. He turned to go back when he saw a bouncer carrying her down the stairs.
"I said, `Give her to me. Give her to me.' And he was like, `Do you know her?' I said, `Yes, yes. That's my best friend.' I said, `Give her to me.' He said, `No, no, no. Look at her leg.' It was very tough to see that."
Her leg was severely injured. Another friend took off his belt, and they used it as a tourniquet.
Geremia spent much of Monday and Tuesday at the hospital, along with Abbott's parents, who are from Lincoln, R.I.
"It's very, very hard to see her," Geremia said.
FRIENDS COME TOGETHER TO HELP PAY FAMILY'S MEDICAL BILLS
Kevin White says the toughest part of being injured in the Boston Marathon bombing was not being able to find his parents.
White, 35, who lives in Boston and Chicago, suffered shrapnel injuries. His mother, Mary Jo, broke several bones and his father, Bill, had his right foot amputated. They had just left a restaurant when the bomb exploded about 10 feet away.
White, who was released from Boston Medical Center Wednesday, says he's looking forward to reuniting with his parents, who were sent to another hospital.
Some close family friends have an online fundraising drive to help the White family pay some of the hefty medical bills they are expected to confront during the months.
The initiative had generated more than $18,400 by late Wednesday, reaching in two days nearly its original goal of raising $20,000 in a month.
White said his family is very grateful, but urged well-wishers to also donate to The One Fund Boston, the charity established to help all families affected by the bombings.