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Sunday
Apr212013

Online Fundraising Raises Money Quickly for Boston Bombing Victims

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- The recovery process for many victims of the Boston Marathon bombing will be slow, arduous and expensive. Numerous victims suffered severe injuries to their lower limbs, with multiple patients having one or more amputations.

But the victims will not be without financial help as they recover.

The public outpouring of support to Boston after the bombings has also translated monetarily, with millions of dollars in donations for victims already made. More than $10 million has been raised for the victims and their families through the One Fund Boston. More than $1 million more has been raised through individual online fundraising sites for victims.

The creation of the One Fund Boston was announced Tuesday by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The fund is designed to streamline donations into one account, which will then be divvied up to victims and their families.

"I am humbled by the outpouring of support by the business community and individuals who are united in their desire to help," Patrick said in a statement. "At moments like this, we are one state, one city, and one people."

Kenneth Feinberg, who also oversaw the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund and the victim funds for the Aurora, Colo., shooting, has been tapped to administer the project.

Multiple corporations have pledged to donate, including the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Bruins and Bank of America. Adidas has pledged to donate all profits from Boston Marathon merchandise to the fund.

While donations to the One Fund Boston are still coming in, it is unclear when the money will be distributed to victims and their families.

For immediate access to funds, family and friends of victims have started using online fundraising sites to help with mounting medical bills and other expenses. Websites such as GoFundMe.com and GiveForward.com allow users to raise money very quickly and are paid out at the end of the scheduled fundraising drive.

Brooke Gibbs used GoFundMe.com to raise more than $300,000 from 7,906 users in just three days for Jeff Bauman Jr. A graphic photograph of Bauman, who lost both of his lower legs in the bombing, made headlines after the attack.

"We want to help in every which way we possibly can to get Bauman back on track as soon as possible," Gibbs wrote in a post. "Medical bills are going to start rolling in, let's get a head start on helping out Bauman and his family!"

According to a study conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management in 2011, prosthetics are covered by 70 percent to 75 percent of employer-sponsored insurance plans. For those who are not covered by insurance, prosthetics can cost approximately $40,000 per limb.

Gibb's fundraising goal for Bauman is $1 million.

Alyssa Carter also used the site to create a page for Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, a mother and daughter injured the blast. Sydney and Celeste Corcoran were both standing near the finish line when the bombs went off. Celeste Corcoran lost both of her lower legs and Sydney Corcoran had shrapnel embedded in her legs.

"There is a long road ahead -- both physically and emotionally -- and we're hoping to relieve some of the financial burden by raising funds in their name," Carter said in a post.

The fundraising page for the mother and daughter had raised more than $450,000 from a goal of $750,000 as of Saturday.

On GiveForward.com, a dedicated Boston Support Page let users choose between supporting 13 families affected by the bombing. Collectively they have currently raised $719,957.

The sites also have staff members that watch the fundraisers and contact users to ensure the websites are not used to support scams. According to Nate St. Pierre, the director of communications at GiveForward.com, the website has cancelled about 20 attempted fundraisers.

Both websites deduct money from transactions, the website GoFundMe.com deducts 5 percent from every donation and GiveForward.com deducts 7 percent from every transaction.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio