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Boston Bombing Survivor Patrick Downes, Columbine Survivor and More Pen Inspirational Messages for ‘Letters of Peace’

Patrick Downes’ and wife Jessica Kensky’s lives changed forever when they were among the victims of two homemade bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, killing three and injuring numerous others. To help inspire people dealing with their own hardships, Downes is one of five survivors of tragedy who recorded videos featuring hopeful messages for the Paper & Packaging — How Life Unfolds campaign.

Related: PHOTOS: Stars — They're Just Like Us!

The campaign’s Letters of Peace initiative enables those who have been touched by violence to inspire individuals to choose love over hate. The other participants include Asia Graves, a survivor of human trafficking; Cliff Molak, whose brother committed suicide after suffering from cyberbullying; Heather Egeland, a senior at Columbine High School when the 1999 school shooting occurred; and Jodee Blanco, an activist and survivor of bullying.

Letters of Peace
Letters of Peace

In his letter, Downes, 33, says the bombing “made [Jess and me] recommit to unity and harmony with the eyes of the world upon us.” (He lost his left leg below the knee, and Kensky, 35, had both of her legs amputated; their story is featured in the documentary Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing, debuting on HBO Monday, November 21.)

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Downes — who ran the 2016 Boston Marathon — reveals that he chooses to wake up each morning with a positive mind-set. 

Letters of Peace
Letters of Peace

“With every handshake, hug, wink, smile and compassionate heart, we reject terrorism’s attempt to morph us into hateful xenophobes,” he writes.

“The smallest and largest signs of peace send a message that peaceful and caring societies will always triumph over those who attempt to break us apart,” he continues. “Hate will always fall victim to love.”

Related: PHOTOS: Stars Who Survived Abuse

Hear Downes’ powerful message in the video above. The other four survivors’ videos are below. 

Asia Graves:

Cliff Molak: 

Heather Egeland: 

Jodee Blanco:

Click here for more information on the campaign. 

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