Boston Marathon bombing survivor reaches out to help Vegas victims

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Chandler mom Elena Breese survived the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and now what's to help other trauma victims better cope with PTSD. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Chandler mom Elena Breese survived the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and now what's to help other trauma victims better cope with PTSD. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Elena Breese still has her seating pass from the 2013 Boston Marathon.

The Chandler mother of two was waiting for her husband Jeff to cross the finish line, when suddenly, there were two explosions.

"I remember their faces," said Breese. "I remember the burning smell."

Breese and her husband walked away that day without any physical injuries, but the mental and emotional toll lingers on.

"It really started with sleep disturbances and nightmares, and then that turned into anxiety and depression," said Breese. "Ultimately, it turned into being afraid to go to sleep."

Breese was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

She's been working with a trauma therapist to keep her panic attacks under control, but it hasn't been easy.

Every time there's another terrorist attack or mass shooting like the one in Las Vegas, Breese is overcome with emotion.

"A week ago they were just packing to go on this vacation and enjoy the music festival," said Breese. "Today, they are trying to pick up the pieces of their life and figure out how do they go on."

Breese recently started a blog and website www.stillbloomingme.com, to help terrorist attack survivors and other victims of PTSD better cope with what's happened to them

She wants Las Vegas victims to know there are places to get help, and they're not alone.

"This really is going to effect their whole family," said Breese. "I just want to be a resource and example to some of these people, because I've been in their shoes and I understand what they're going through." 

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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