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A baby's birth reunites marathon bombing victim and nurse who cared for her


Nichole Casper, RN, a nurse in the Mother Infant Unit (MIU) reported to work as usual on August 21, 2021. As she read the list of patients there that day, one name stood out to her: Jacqui Webb.

Eight years ago, Nichole cared for Jacqui after she and her now fiancé, Paul Norden, had suffered severe, life-altering injuries in the Boston Marathon bombing. Nichole worked in the surgery and trauma unit back in 2013, and was on the frontlines on that fateful day.

Nichole has since moved onto the Mother and Infant Unit (MIU), and while both women had thought of each other over the years, they had not communicated since the bombing or its aftermath. That all changed however, when Jacqui came back to the Medical Center to give birth to her first baby.

"I thank my lucky stars every day that I was brought to that hospital," Marathon bombing survivor Jacqui Webb said. "And I think when I walked out of there, eight years ago, I said, if I ever had a baby, I'll be back at that hospital."

A familiar face

At first, Nichole wasn’t sure if Jacqui would have wanted to see a familiar face from that day. She didn’t want her to be forced to relive any uncomfortable or traumatic memories.

As it turned out, Jacqui was elated, and the presence of someone she knew was invaluable. “When I saw Nichole, it meant there was no more anxiety,” said Jacqui, 33, whose hands were severely burned in the attack and still carries shrapnel in her body. “It was so comfortable to see a familiar face, someone who knew what we were going through.”

Welcome, baby Ella

Ella Webb Norden was born late on August 21 and weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces. Nichole stayed by the new parents’ side for the next three nights, including an extra shift that she requested for their final sleep at the hospital.

Nichole, who has been a nurse for the past 21 years, has seen her fair share of patients facing hardships. For her, it was a breath of fresh air to see someone who had been through so much suffering, leave the hospital happy - with her fiancé and healthy baby girl.

“It made me extremely happy. You know, it was just something that I'll probably never experience again in my career.”