Former Vols organize race to benefit two former UT swimmers

Former Vols organize race to benefit two former UT swimmers injured in Boston blast

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Michael and Nicole Gross (Source: Facebook) Michael and Nicole Gross (Source: Facebook)
Nicole (right) and her sister Erika (middle), were watching their mom run in the Boston Marathon when the bomb went off. (Source: Be Strong, Stay Strong.net) Nicole (right) and her sister Erika (middle), were watching their mom run in the Boston Marathon when the bomb went off. (Source: Be Strong, Stay Strong.net)
"A lot of times you hear about the terror attacks and it's sort of over there, but it makes it very real, very personal and I was shaken by it and quite emotional over it," said friend Lance Asti. "A lot of times you hear about the terror attacks and it's sort of over there, but it makes it very real, very personal and I was shaken by it and quite emotional over it," said friend Lance Asti.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knoxville friends and supporters are working to raise money for two former University of Tennessee swimmers who were injured in the bombings last week at the Boston Marathon.

Michael and Nicole Gross swam at UT from 1999 to 2003.

Michael Gross was released from the hospital last week after suffering burns and bruises.

Nicole remains in the hospital after going through seven surgeries. She was hit by shrapnel in the blast and may need to be hospitalized another couple weeks.

Now, friends are organizing a 5K on May 3 at World's Fair Park, with proceeds going to the Gross family to help aid in their recovery.

Lance Asti was on Michael's swim team at UT. Since learning of their injuries in the blast, Asti's been in touch with the family to show support.

"A lot of times you hear about the terror attacks and it's sort of over there, but it makes it very real, very personal and I was shaken by it and quite emotional over it," said Asti.

Michael, Nicole and Nicole's sister were spectators at the marathon. They were near the finish line when the explosions occurred.

Asti says Michael had minor injuries and burns to his face and upper body, but is now out of the hospital. Nicole was injured by shrapnel and will be hospitalized at least another week.

"Nicole had some severe injuries to her legs, some compound fractures and severe damage to her soft tissue," said Asti.

Nicole's sister lost part of her leg. Now some Tennessee Vols are coming together to help the family.

Eric Bell, an organizer of the Glow Run 5K, got together with Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer Davis Tarwater to come up with ways to help the Gross family. The registration fee is $40.

"We are going to give 100% of the proceeds to her medical bills during this time of need," said Bell.

Former swimmers say Vols always help out other Vols in time of need. As of Monday afternoon, 700 people had signed up for the race.

Tarwater hopes thousands come out to show support.

"Knoxville is making a collective statement that we won't stand for terrorism. We won't be dissuaded by fear and we will support the people who are our own," said Knoxville Gold Medalist Davis Tarwater.

Tarwater hopes the Gross family knows the community will come together to support them in any way possible on their road to recovery.

Family friends say Nicole's last surgery took eight hours. She could be in the hospital a couple more weeks, but her sister will be there much longer.

To register for the race online, go to Glow Run 5K.

If you are unable to attend the race, but want to help, you can go to Be Strong, Stay Strong website created for the Gross'.

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