People Turn to Fundraising Sites to Help Pay for Hospital Expenses

Multiple accounts have been set up on the fundraising site Indiegogo.com to help defray medical bills.

By Steve Annear | Boston Daily |
ap

Photo via Associated Press

Less than 24-hours after two explosions set off along the Boston Marathon route injured more than 170 people, supporters turned to fundraising websites to collect money to go towards helping those impacted by the tragic event.

On Indiegogo.com, Bogdan Rau, member of a group called “San Diego & Friends United for Boston,” started a page from across the country. “Like most other Americans, on Monday I was glued to the TV [and] Internet to get updates from Boston. While Facebook and Twitter were overflowing with thoughts and prayers, I quickly realized that there were ways that we can go beyond that! I started a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo with two targets.”

First, he hopes to put $2,500 of the funds collected towards the Red Cross. An additional $2,500, if raised, will be used to help an unidentified victim who lost both of his legs, with medical expenses. “While we are currently working to find the identity of this individual, our fundraising campaign is already underway to help defray the cost of care,” says Rau.

In Lowell, resident Alyssa Carter started a fundraising effort online for two friends hurt “badly” in the blast. One of the victims had to have both legs amputated, she said. “There is a long road—physically and emotionally—for them and we’re hoping to relieve some of the financial burden by raising funds in their name.  Please help spread the word and donate if you can,” according to Carter.

By 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Carter’s fundraising page had received more than $60,000, to go towards medical expenses for her friends. “You are all incredible. We are in complete and utter awe of everyone’s generosity.  Your support will make such a difference in their lives. Thank you again and again,” she wrote.

A man by the name of Matthew Reck setup a fundraising account to help provide money to victims who lost limbs in the explosions, by paying for prosthetics. “What is there to say, we still don’t know who did this yet and we might not know, what is important right now is getting help to the victims, posting on Facebook and saying our thoughts and prayers are with those people isn’t going to do much,” he wrote on the fundraising page. “What you can do is donate money for the victims to receive prosthetic limbs, most likely legs, because not all insurance company’s will covers such things.”

The cost of some prosthetic legs is expensive, says Reck. “If we can at least get two base model legs, that’s two or one people that will be able to walk again. So reach deep and donate, lets get these people back up on their feet,” he wrote.

Other people from out of state that are showing support for the city during this tragic time have offered to send rubber wristbands with “love for Boston” when they donate to their personal projects.

A Boston-area t-shirt printer is also selling clothing that says “Never Forget 2013 Boston Marathon,” for $15.

Dozens of other accounts have been created, spanning from as far as Germany, but the legitimacy of those campaigns has not been confirmed at this time. Donators should be wary of where they send monetary donations, as multiple accounts crop up following Monday’s attack in Boston.

Boston Magazine reached out to officials from Indiegogo.com to find out how they can verify whether or not the money is going to a designated effort as specified in a campaign. Carrie Forman, a public relations associate for the company, said  the website offers an accessible way to raise funds in times of need, even before insurance and government subsidies are able to give aid.

“Due to its social and democratic nature, crowdfunding is inherently an excellent deterrent to anyone who seeks to take advantage of the system because it’s up to the crowd to determine whether a campaign is legitimate. That being said, Indiegogo takes trust very seriously so we’ve built an algorithm that allows us to flag potentially fraudulent campaigns, not unlike the systems that credit card companies use to detect unauthorized purchases,” she said.

Forman referenced the success of several past campaigns that helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims and their families effected by both Hurricane Sandy, and the shooting tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2013/04/16/boston-marathon-victims-fundraisers/