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About Patrick Downes
Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes were married in 2012 and were injured during the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Rescue joined them several months later. Their story has been featured by many national media outlets as well as in feature films and documentaries, and their inspiring efforts to educate the public by sharing their personal stories of healing have touched millions of people around the world. About Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship, their first picture book, they say, “We hope this story inspires you to celebrate others the way we have been celebrated. Making this book has been therapeutic, and we hope you enjoy the story as much as we enjoyed telling it.” They live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Patrick grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He attended Cambridge public schools through 8th grade and then hopped on the Red Line to Boston College High School. At BC High his family's commitment to community service was cemented by the schools motto of "Men for Others." He went on from there to Boston College, becoming a "Double Eagle." At BC he majored in Human Development in the Lynch School of Education and Philosophy. After BC he headed for Capitol Hill where he met the love of his life, Jessica. Patrick soon realized that politics wasn't for him and followed his true passion of working with children. For four years he worked with children and adolescents in Suburban DC, Belize, Greater Boston & Baltimore. Those experiences eventually led Patrick to pursue his doctorate in clinical psychology at William James College in Newton, MA.
Patrick & Jessica, after several years of a long-distance relationship, eventually both settled in Boston where Patrick was in graduate school and Jessica was a oncology nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital. The couple were set to move to San Francisco to move closer to Jessica's hometown of Sacramento and for Patrick to serve as a clinical psychology intern working with children who had experienced trauma when they attended the 2013 Boston Marathon. When the first bomb went off, Patrick and Jessica were only feet away. The bomb amputated each of their left legs, and severely damaged Jessica's right leg. After a year and a half of treatment and recovery at some of Boston's best hospitals, and consults with experts around the country, the couple received permission for the U.S. Secretary of Defense to be patients at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. There, experts in blast injuries recommended that Jessica amputate her right leg as well. Patrick & Jessica lived at Walter Reed for nearly 3 years, where they befriended and were blessed by the company our nation's Wounded Warriors. They returned to their home in Cambridge, MA in the summer of 2017.
Patrick has completed 5 Boston Marathons. His first was while a senior at Boston College with his best friend. Patrick & Jessica returned to Marathon a year after the bombing to handcycle the race. Patrick has twice handcycled with his Wounded Warrior brothers as a part of the Achilles Freedom Team. In 2016, Patrick was the first bombing amputee to complete the Marathon on a prosthetic running blade. He has returned to the race each year to thank all of those who have supported him and Jessica through the years, and to share the experience with modern day patriots on Patriots Day in Boston.
This experience has forever changed Patrick's personal and professional trajectory. He is now particularly interested in how our country responds to terrorism, furthering the relationship between military & civilian medicine, expanding disability rights, and using his family's experience to care for others. While his interests have changed, his determination to improve the lives of others has not.
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A 2019 Schneider Family Book Award Winner
Based on a real-life partnership, the heartening story of the love and teamwork between a girl and her service dog will illuminate and inspire.
Rescue thought he’d grow up to be a Seeing Eye dog — it’s the family business, after all. When he gets the news that he’s better suited to being a service dog, he’s worried that he’s not up to the task. Then he meets Jessica, a girl whose life is turning out differently than the way she'd imagined it, too. Now Jessica needs Rescue by her side to help her accomplish everyday tasks. And it turns out that Rescue can help Jessica see after all: a way forward, together, one step at a time. An endnote from the authors tells more about the training and extraordinary abilities of service dogs, particularly their real-life best friend and black lab, Rescue.