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Boston Marathon bombings: Redondo Beach family of man injured in blast tells story

April 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
As seven members of the Odom family stood near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, they had no idea they were moments away from having their lives changed forever.

"We were just looking down the street waiting for her to come, and that's when the blast hit," said Karen Odom. "We were all blown to the ground."

While six members of the Redondo Beach-based clan escaped the bombings unharmed, it was their 65-year-old patriarch John Odom who wouldn't be so fortunate.

Karen could hear her husband John's pleas for help but didn't realize the severity of his injuries right away.

"John was saying, 'Oh my leg, my leg!' And I said, 'Oh, you'll be fine,' because we didn't have a scratch on us. I looked down, and it was obvious he had severed an artery, and we were in serious shape," she said.

In the meantime, their son Don Odom was struggling to get to his feet after the blast.

"I was getting trampled by people running by," he said. "I couldn't get up so my brother-in-law jumped in front of me, and pushed a couple people down, and was yelling at me, 'Get up!' And at that time he handed me his son and said, 'Get out of here, I'm going to your dad.'"

Don left the boy under the care of two women nearby, and rushed to his father's side.

"That's when I kind of said to myself, 'Oh, I know this isn't good.' I ran through all the carnage and stuff that was all around," he said.

Karen had used an extra pair of running pants and a belt to keep John from bleeding to death, as Don encouraged his mother to keep John conscious.

"Then Donnie tried to get help, he was trying to bring people in to help us, and it was unbelievable," said Karen.

John Odom was taken to the hospital, where Karen says he coded during his first surgery and lost his full body blood twice. All the Odoms could do was wait, and hope.

"Anger started to set in later that night, who would do something like that? They're cowards," Don said. "It's been like a rollercoaster. You try to stay strong and positive for him."

John underwent his fourth surgery Thursday and is still in critical condition, but so far doctors have been able to save his legs. John is expected to remain hospitalized in Boston for some time.

Looking ahead, the Odoms are planning a retirement party in May for John, who Karen says was just three weeks away from the day he had spent his whole life working toward.

"I think the thing that bothers me the most, we're so blessed that the other six of us have no injuries; John took the entire brunt of it for the family," she said. "It's day by day, and we just have to hope and pray that he gets through this."

To keep up with John Odom's progress, you can visit his recovery website.


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