BETTENDORF, Iowa-- It's a scene Dr. Natalie Stavas can't shake from her memory.
"Being there in the heard of it and seeing the blood and having someone die at my hands right in front of me that I couldn't save, sometimes I get a little overwhelmed when I talk about it. I think the unnecessariness (sic) of it, like why did this happen? Like seeing people suffering. The suffering was so profound," recalls Stavas.
And now, she shares her message with the Quad Cities at a conference held on Friday.
Stavas wasn't even supposed to be running the marathon that day back in April 2013 because she broke her foot weeks before. But she did against the doctor's orders.
"The morning of the marathon I woke up and I said, I'm going to run this race. No one can stop me," says Stavas.
She was just feet away from the finish line when the bombs went off.
"I remember stopping about being like, oh my God. What is this? What am I going to do? And the driving force was my mom was up there, and I knew people were injured. And I stopped and was like, I have to go. I have to get there and help in any way I can," says Stavas.
She treated four people that day at the second bomb sight. Three survived, and one didn't make it.
"Yes, this was horrible, and yes, this happened. But what can we do to recognize in our everyday lives the needs of the people around us because ultimately, that's where the average person is going to make a difference," says Stavas.
She urges people to face challenges head on.
"Reach out to family and friends, volunteer, challenge yourself to learn something new. Challenge yourself in some way to be better," says Stavas.
Now, Stavas wants people to realize it doesn't take a tragedy to make a hero.