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Welcome home party for RI marathon bombing victim

May 18, 2013

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island woman who was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings is preparing to attend a welcome home party at Rosecliff, a Newport mansion featured in the film version of “The Great Gatsby.”

Heather Abbott of Newport had gone to Boston on to watch the Red Sox play on April 15 and was waiting in line to get into a crowded restaurant when the bombs went off.

Doctors amputated Abbot’s left leg below the knee. She was one of more than 260 injured in the blasts; three people died.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee will join Abbott’s family, relatives and friends at the official welcome home party scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Others expected to attend include lawmakers as well as local officials and well-wishers.

Abbott has said she “is looking at this event as a way to transition from injury to healing” emotionally, said Olga Enger, who is among those organizing the party.

“She sees this as a way for her and her friends to really get together and move on,” said Enger, who noted Abbot had about a dozen friends with her on the day of the blasts.

The event’s location is intended to lift spirits.

Rosecliff was commissioned by Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs and was modeled after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French kings at Versailles. The mansion was completed in 1902 and Oelrichs went on to host fabulous events there, including a fairy tale dinner and a party featuring famed magician Harry Houdini.

Rosecliff’s last private owners gave the building, its furnishings and endowment to the Preservation Society of Newport County.

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