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Bruins walk, donate blood to honor Boston victims

Members of the UCLA community walked around campus Tuesday to honor those affected by last week’s explosions at the Boston Marathon.

By Fiona Kirby and Ariana Ricarte

April 24, 2013 3:24 a.m.

Wearing racer bibs with the words “UCLA united to remember” and a silhouette of the Boston skyline, about 30 people gathered in Bruin Plaza on Tuesday afternoon to honor the victims of last week’s Boston Marathon explosions.

Participants at Tuesday’s event wrote letters of support that will be sent to the Boston community and then walked together – up Janss Steps, through Powell Library and then down Bruin Walk – to symbolize the journey of the runners during the marathon.

The explosions, which took place near the marathon’s finish line, killed three people and injured more than 100 people.

USAC President David Bocarsly said councilmembers conceived the idea for the event during last week’s council meeting. They wanted to find a way to demonstrate UCLA’s support of people involved in the bombing, he said.

“It’s our duty to come together as peers and family,” Bocarsly said. “You can’t tear us apart, we’re always going to stand up and support each other.”

Alex Wood, a second-year communications studies student who ran at the Boston Marathon , said that she could not attend the event because she had to be in class, but that she likely would have gone if she was free.

She said the spirit of the event reminded her of the support she felt immediately after the Boston Marathon, when friends were texting her to make sure she was safe.

This weekend, Wood plans to run in a marathon in Big Sur, her third in six weeks. She said she is looking forward to it.

“(It’s important to) just keep running – don’t let any of this get you down,” she said.

Adam Zhang, a first-year mathematics student, said he attended the event because he wanted to show his respect for the victims and gratitude to the runners. He said he wrote a letter to the family of one of the victims, trying to comfort them after they had lost their only child.

Chu said USAC is still trying to figure out how to send the letters to Boston, but she is interested in sending them to the mayor of Boston, who in turn would be able to disseminate them more effectively.

Organizers of the event also asked students to donate blood, in solidarity with the Boston marathon runners who immediately ran to give blood after hearing about the bombings, said Cassarah Chu, USAC student wellness commissioner who helped organize the event.

After the event, some students visited the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center to donate blood – still wearing their race bibs. The blood they donated will go to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, but the donations are a symbolic act.

Paula Mendoza, a fourth-year anthropology student working at the Blood and Platelet Center, said the event was helpful because it brought in more donors, but that he thinks it is also important to focus on donating consistently rather than just once.

“Even though this is just symbolic, it’s something small to help someone else,” said Karen Yun, a fourth-year fine arts student who was waiting to donate. “What those runners (in Boston) did was very admirable, and they are great examples to follow.”

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