Two brothers were able to track down their parents, who were injured in the bombing at the Boston Marathon Monday, by asking for help on Facebook.
Richard Whalley first discovered that his parents had been injured in the explosion after his older brother, 34-year-old Chris Whalley, showed him a picture of their father that had been circulating on Reddit.
The 25-year-old CEO and his brother called around to different hospitals trying to find their father and mother, Ann, but when there were no records for either parent, Whalley turned to Facebook.
“This is my dad in the picture in this link: I have no idea where my mum is. They were both bombed,” Whalley wrote. “I’m trying to find out what hospital they are at. can you help? Eric Whalley & Ann Whalley. They look pretty severely injured and I’m worried my Mum is dead.”
Whalley then received over 60 comments offering help in looking for his parents as well as suggestions how to find them such as using Google’s Person Finder or calling the mayor’s hotline.
One friend called Brigham and Women’s and said he found Eric Whalley there.
“He’s at Brigham, they will call you right now,” Jess Kim wrote. A minute later, Matt Perrone wrote, “Just got off the phone with B&W. Your father is there. Your mother, from what the operator told me, was at another facility.”
About 10 minutes after that post, a different friend had located Ann Whalley.
“She’s at Faulkner, in the ICU,” John Moore wrote. “Stable with no life threatening injuries.”
In the confusion after the explosions, Eric and Ann Whalley had been registered under the wrong names, which is why Richard Whalley had so much trouble finding them at first.
At 9:16 pm, less than one hour after his initial post, Richard Whalley posted that he was able to find his parents.
Early the next day, Whalley posted another update.
Eric and Ann Whalley still have a long road of recovery up ahead. Eric Whalley may lose his eyesight, and Ann Whalley has a mangled right foot. They were moved to the same ward so it would be easier for their sons to visit.
Richard Whalley’s alma mater, MIT, created a donation page on GiveForward to help pay for his parents’ medical expenses. At the time of this writing, the Ann + Eric Whalley Recovery Fund has received 1,399 donations totaling $68,645. The ultimate goal is $100,000, and there are 13 days left to donate. Whalley said any extra money they receive will go to helping the families of other victims.
“I mean it’s been pretty surreal. But we’ve had a lot of support from the community,” Whalley told ABC News. “One of the messages of this story is these online tools are available to people to go and aid others in the recovery process. Getting help can sometimes be overwhelming.”