TORONTO – When two bombs exploded just steps away from the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon it sent shockwaves through the city of Boston.
But as news of the deadly blasts travelled on social media, those shockwaves resonated throughout the Internet – bringing strangers together on social media sites to offer their condolences and support.
On the social news site Reddit, heartwarming posts attracted attention, as people around the world try to cope with the aftermath.
“Amputee willing to talk and offer support to anyone who lost a leg in yesterday’s explosion,” read a post by one Reddit user, whose post detailed the difficulties associated with losing a limb.
Severe injuries, including amputations and lost limbs, have been reported among the injured.
“I was trying to think of ways I could help those affected by the explosions at the Boston Marathon yesterday and I realized since many people lost limbs, and I have been a below the knee amputee for almost 20 years, one thing I can do is offer to talk to and comfort people who became amputees as a result of yesterday’s tragedy,” read the post, located under the subreddit /r/Boston.
A person briefed on the attack said the explosives involved were in 6-litre pressure cookers, placed on black duffle bags on the ground, reportedly spraying shards of metal, nails and ball bearings into the crowd.
Posts in /r/Boston range from people asking for advice on what they can do to help, to people simply offering their condolences – including one Reddit user from Toronto who wrote, “Stay strong Boston, our thoughts and hearts are with you.”
Multiple users posted on the site offering up their airline points.
“I’ve got about 80,000 points with Southwest, how can I help,” asked one user, who offered the points to marathon participants, or families who were trying to get out of Boston, along with a $100 travel voucher.
The same user links off to a main thread page where people can donate their airline points, air miles, or travel vouchers to those in need.
One of the most popular threads on Reddit has been the “Random Acts of Pizza” subreddit, which encourages people to send pizzas to those hosting a stranger at their home, hospitals, fire and police departments, and shelters.
“I will send a pizza to any firefighter, police office, EMT/paramedic, and or military servicemen helping in Boston,” read a post in the thread.
In the thread, residents from Toronto, Dallas, San Francisco and even Perth, Australia, have offered to place pizza orders for Boston residents in need.
“Boston ER here. We just got 50 boxes delivered from the first responders of the Newtown shooting,” wrote Reddit user iMunchies on Monday.
“We made a big collection when Newtown happened and sent them meals and they returned the favour the same night. So unbelievable,” read the comment.
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