Fundraiser attendee steals $8K raised for boy’s surgery

9-year-old Aidan Sullivan of Brewster, New York, has been through ten surgeries in his short life to correct a congenital facial issue- but the necessary surgery to give the boy a right ear was not covered by his insurance.

A fundraiser was organized, and $8,000 was raised to fund the boy’s medical care. But at the event, a family friend who was in possession of the mostly cash donations set the money down for a minute. And it disappeared. Aidan’s dad Tim describes the sequence of events that lead up to the money’s disappearance:

“At the end of the night, all the money that was donated was put in a zippered bag,” said Tim Sullivan.

“A bartender gave the bag to Pete . . . He had it in his hands. He put it down to go do something, and when he came back, he saw that it was missing.”

Aidan’s family planned to go ahead with the surgery anyway, and posted this message on the child’s Facebook page:

“Aidan will be having ear reconstruction surgery on March 1, 2011 at NYU Medical Center in New York City. Aidan is a patient at the IRPS at NYU. He has a comprehensive team of doctors who have mapped out in developmental stages his surgeries to correct his facial deformity.”

The story ran in several outlets on Thanksgiving Day, and on Friday, a Rockland County based organization contacted the Sullivan family to say that they planned to replace the $7,000 in cash stolen at the event:

The Sullivans received a call Friday afternoon from Suffern Police Chief Clarke Osborn, a volunteer with the Vincent Crotty Memorial Foundation, informing them that he, along with Vincent Crotty’s father, Peter, were planning to deliver a $7,000 check to their home today. At the fundraiser, $7,000 in cash and $1,000 in checks were stolen.

Aidan, who told press that he like to “kick (the thief’s) butt,” also said he was excited about the surgery. “I’m excited,” he told a reporter, “finally, an ear.”