"It's really a very very special day," Robin Kaler said.
She ran the Boston marathon in 2004. It was one of her favorite memories with her kids cheering her on at the finish line.
"The idea that you would run a race like that and the very people you asked to come out would be hurt or killed was just, unthinkable."
Unthinkable pain dozens had to endure, so for Kaler, Wednesday was all about honor.
"I wore my Boston marathon necklace, runner earrings and my Boston jacket," Kaler said.
She wasn't the only one. People all over Central Illinois sported racing shirts in honor of the victims.
"You can't be there, you can't help carry victims to safety, you can't rescue anybody from a bomb. It's really just a way of me saying, 'I'm thinking about you,'" Kaler said.
Shan Nanji is a Champaign CEO.
"I was watching the news yesterday, I'm a news junkie and I realized something needed to be done," Nanji said.
His business is online, so he decided to team up with his web developers. In 24 hours they created a website to collect donations. All money raised will help cover victim's medical expenses.
"Anybody in America, they see it and what can they do to help. This was just what came to mind to me. I took classes in Boston. It hit home with me. I wanted to do what I could to try and help," Nanji said.
Whether it was wearing a t-shirt, donating or just praying...
"For today, you just wanted to do something to say I'm thinking of you," Kaler said.
If you'd like to donate click here.
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.