Internet sites raise big bucks for bomb victim Bauman

An emergency responder and volunteers, including Carlos Arredondo in the cowboy hat, push Jeff Bauman in a wheel chair after he was injured in an explosion near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday, April 15, 2013 in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
An emergency responder and volunteers, including Carlos Arredondo in the cowboy hat, push Jeff Bauman in a wheel chair after he was injured in an explosion near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday, April 15, 2013 in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Posted: April 21, 2013

A friend who is raising money for Jeff Bauman - pictured bloody and ashen in a photo that has defined the Boston Marathon bombing - has collected more than $205,000 in two days.

The sum grew by the minute Friday as donations arrived from around the world to "Bucks for Bauman!" - set up by the sister of Bauman's best friend. The fund-raising goal was increased from $200,000 to $1 million as money poured in.

Bauman, 27, grew up in New England but has extensive family ties to Philadelphia and South Jersey.

Brooke Gibbs is accepting donations for medical and other expenses through http://www.gofundme.com/BucksforBauman# on the crowd-sourcing website GoFundMe. Efforts to contact her were unsuccessful.

More than 5,100 people have given, many citing the now-familiar photo of Bauman, in a wheelchair, being rushed from the scene. He lost both legs and remains hospitalized.

Bloomberg News reported Friday that minutes before the explosions, Bauman looked into the eyes of one of the suspected terrorists. Bauman was waiting for his girlfriend to finish the race when a man wearing a cap and black jacket dropped a bag at his feet, said Bauman's brother, Chris.

The explosion wrecked Jeff Bauman's legs.

"He woke up under so much drugs, asked for a paper and pen, and wrote,'bag, saw the guy, looked right at me,?" Chris Bauman said, adding that his brother gave the FBI a description of the man.

Csilla Bauman, Jeff Bauman's stepmother, said Friday that she could not discuss what he might have told the FBI.

She said Jeff Bauman was awake and aware of the extent of his injuries.

"He's very positive and he's very upbeat," she said. "He's going to get through this. He's a true patriot. If anybody wants to know what a patriot is, look at my son Jeff."

She and her husband grew up in Oaklyn.

The family is "in awe" of the support and encouragement received from around the world, she said. The actor Bradley Cooper, who grew up in Jenkintown, visited Bauman, and New England Patriots football player Julian Edelman delivered a game ball.

Asked what the family wanted or needed, Csilla Bauman said, "Prayers."

On Facebook, the Jeff Bauman Support Page has garnered more than 36,000 likes. Four other fund-raisers for Bauman on GoFundMe have collected more than $20,000.

Some complained that GoFundMe would not waive its usual 5 percent fee.

"GoFundMe is benefitting HUGE from this tragedy," Sarah Benedict wrote.

GoFundMe chief executive Brad Damphousse released a statement saying the company extended "heartfelt thoughts and prayers" to those hurt by the bombing, but would not suspend its charges. If it dropped the fee for one worthy cause, it would have to do so for others, ultimately ruining the company, the statement said.

People who gave to Bucks for Bauman! live as near to the scene as New England and as far away as Europe.

"I donated yesterday also, and I wish I could give more," Lainie Fitzgerald wrote after sending $20 on Friday. "I just can't stop thinking about you and the other victims."

Jill Williams, who gave $50, wrote: "Stay strong! Your courage has renewed our faith in humanity after this ordeal."


Contact Jeff Gammage at 610-313-8205, jgammage@phillynews.com, or on Twitter @JeffGammage.

|
|
|
|
|