In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday, Jeff Bauman’s image was seared into the American consciousness. An extremely graphic photo of Bauman being escorted in a wheelchair with most of his legs blown off quickly went viral. Public admiration for Bauman rose even further after reports surfaced that he had looked into the eyes of one of the bombing suspects minutes before the explosion, and that the moment he awoke from emergency care, he gave law enforcement critical information that substantially narrowed their field of suspects. But while police continue to scour the streets for at-large suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 27-year-old Bauman is scouring the internet for donations to help pay for his outsized medical bills.
Bauman’s friends created the page “Bucks For Bauman!” on the gofundme.com crowdfunding service. The money raised through donations to the site are meant to help Jeff and his family pay the exorbitant costs of his surgeries, ongoing medical care, and physical therapy. Since Tuesday, when the site was launched, Americans from across the country have poured in $158,294 in donations — over half of the overall $300,000 goal.
Bauman has been fortunate enough to receive an impressive number of donations to help him pay his bills, and his uncle plans to buy him his first pair of prosthetic legs. But many other victims in the Boston bombings may not be as fortunate. The cost of treating the bombing survivors’ injuries is expected to exceed $9 million. The out-of-pocket costs associated with that treatment could bury many of the victims financially, even if they do have insurance — unless hospitals, insurers, and charitable foundations swoop in to help, as they did after the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
You can donate to Jeff Bauman’s recovery fund here.
The original version of this story stated that Jeff Bauman does not have health insurance. This is incorrect. That claim was based on a quote from Bauman’s uncle, Dale Maybury of Westford, that was cited in The Boston Globe on Thursday. Not only does Bauman have employer-sponsored health coverage through Costco — the company “is also matching donations made by colleagues at the chain’s Nashua location,” according to a more recent Globe article from Friday. Bauman is being forced to raise funds despite this assistance due to the extraordinarily high costs associated with the amount of current and ongoing care that he requires.