Fundraising sites aim to help Boston marathon victims

An injured woman is tended to at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. AP Photo/The Boston Globe, John Tlumacki

Many of the injured in the Boston bombings are looking at a long road to recovery - both physically and emotionally.

In an effort to relieve some of the financial burden they may also face, online campaigns have sprung up to raise funds for the injured.

A leading crowd funding website, GoFundMe.com, has several pages aimed at helping victims of Monday's bombings.

One of the most popular is for Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, the mother and daughter who were at the Marathon watching Celeste's sister, Carmen, run; they were both badly injured from the blasts.

Sydney has severe injuries after being hit with shrapnel and Celeste lost both of her legs below her knees.

Their cousin, Alyssa Carter, is the force behind the page. There has been an absolute outpouring of support, she says, with over $180,000 raised in one day.

"You feel really helpless and wonder what you can do. I knew the greatest way would be something for people to share and see the story, and with the interaction with Facebook and Twitter - I researched a few different sites," Carter told CBSNews.com, when asked why she decided to start the page.

At first, Carter says the donations mainly came from people who knew her family, either directly or indirectly.

"Now, really, at this point, people from the UK, Canada, Australia, it's incredible, everybody seems to be really touched. If you give people the way to make a difference they will do it. Good people will come through," said Carter.

Carter said she initially started the fundraising to cover any medical expenses not covered by the Corcorans' health plans, but with so much money raised, she hoping the money can be used to help accommodate the house for wheelchairs.

Both Sydney and Celeste's bedrooms are on the second floor, and this will need to be changed as well.

"I want them to be able to focus on their recovery. The mental stress, when you're trying to heal and you worry about grocery bills and the mortgage. They can focus on recovering - physically but also emotionally," said Carter.

Celeste Corcoran was a hairdresser at a popular salon in Boston."We're being really aggressive because the loss of income in truly devastating," said Carter.

However, she says Celeste is in good spirits. "She's cracking jokes about being a blade runner and saying she's going to be a hairdresser on wheels."

There are two fundraising pages on GoFundMe.com for 27-year-old Jeff Bauman Jr., who'd been on the sidelines to cheer on his girlfriend as she ran the race. A photo of him being wheeled out of the bombing scene with horrific leg injuries was broadcast all over the world. Bauman had to have both legs amputated.

One of the pages set up for his benefit raised $17,500 in 15 hours, and the other over $2,000.

"We have created this fundraiser to raise money to help support our dear friend, Jeff and his family. As most of you know, Jeff was severely affected by the tragedy that had taken place at the Patriots Day Boston Marathon this year. Throughout this difficult time we want to help in every which way we possibly can to get Bauman back on track as soon as possible," his friend Brooke Gibbs posted.

Several Boston businesses have also made commitments to raise money for families affected by the bombings, donating to a fund started by Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Gov. Deval Patrick.

Patrick and Menino say there has been an outpouring of support from businesses and individuals to The One Fund Boston, including a $1 million commitment from John Hancock Financial Services.

But in tragic situations gaining global attention such as this one, there's the risk of opportunists and scammers opening funds in the names of victims who never see the money.

The Domains, a site which monitors registered domain names, posted Monday after the bombings that there were at least 125 domain names that had been registered relating to the explosions at the Boston Marathon.

"Over 20 of the domain .com/.net domains registered today sound like they could be used for fundraising efforts for the victims so we need to watch those to make sure they are only used by licensed and regulated charities," Michael Berkens, editor-in-chief of The Domains, has written on the site.

Even Carter, who's linked the Corcorans' fundraising page to her Facebook profile, where there are photos of herself with Celeste and Sydney, says she's come across questions about her connections to the family. "I encourage people to email me. People say, 'how do I know it's real?' and I say feel free to call me."

She says she's also been approached by companies offering to hold fundraisers for her relatives and in return promote their products.

But Carter is using the page for a more personal reason -- to try and locate the people who helped Sydney.

"The kid in the red shirt, he's the one who used his T-shirt to make a tourniquet around her leg. Had that not been done, she would've probably bled to death, her artery was severed. It's amazing the kindness of others, as bad as the world can be, we're just really, really grateful," said Carter.

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    Jessica Hartogs is a news editor for CBSNews.com. You can find her on Twitter: @jessicahartogs

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