Friendship blooms from tragedy - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Friendship blooms from tragedy


BOSTON (WKOW) -- Erika Bannock will never forget the day she met her new friend Amanda North. It was April 15, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

When the bombs when off, Erika was gravely wounded. She lost one leg and broke the other. As she lay on the sidewalk in agony, Erika remembers a woman with brown hair in a yellow sweater coming out of nowhere to help her.

"I do remember moving over and crawling over and reaching out to her because she was conscious," says Amanda.

When she saw Erika's lower left leg had been blown off, Amanda used her belt as a tourniquet. She stayed with Erika, and held her hand, until Erika was taken to the hospital. They had not exchanged names. Erika thought the woman who saved her life was called Joan from California.

50 days and 11 surgeries later, Erika was released from the hospital. She was the last survivor to leave. When she left, Erika left with a mission: to find Joan from California and thank her for saving her life.

With a little help from CNN, "Joan" from California was found and revealed as Amanda North. Within 24 hours, the two were set to meet. Erika's mother broke the good news.

"She said 'do you want to meet Joan tomorrow?,'" Erika recalled. "And I just started crying."

It was an emotional reunion; both women were a little nervous to meet the other, but both so thankful to see each other again. They exchanged gifts and together relived that terrible day.

"I had this horrible feeling I was going to die," Erika said. "Right away you came right up to me and you grabbed my hand and you told me you weren't going to let go and you didn't."

"I felt like there was a reason I was there," Amanda said. "I felt a compulsion to go over to you."

To Erika and her family, Amanda is a hero. But Amanda just wants to be known as a new friend for life.

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