All 9-year-old Aidan Sullivan wanted was to look normal. The son of a New York firefighter, Aidan was born with a rare disorder called hemifacial microsomia, which left the right side of his face underdeveloped. Having already undergone about 10 surgeries to repair facial deformities, Aidan was particularly excited about the next one – the first of three procedures that would finally give him an ear.
His family has medical insurance but Aidan’s doctors don’t take insurance. In order to pay for the surgeries, which will cost between $25,000 and $30,000, a fundraiser was held in Danbury, Connecticut on November 20 and the money poured in. In the end about $8,000 was raised and things were looking good for Aidan and his new ear.
Until someone crashed the fundraiser and made off with all the money.
Peter Drake, fundraiser organizer and family friend, says that he had put the box containing the money down for just a moment when it disappeared. The Danbury police aren’t commenting and it seems unlikely that the cash will ever be recovered.
Happily, this isn’t the end of the story. After news of the theft appeared in the local paper, offers of help poured in. Most notably, the Vincent Crotty Memorial Foundation stepped up and offered to replace all the money that was stolen.
The foundation was established earlier this year in memory of Vincent Crotty and Christopher Konkowski, Suffern High School baseball players who were killed in a car crash. Peter Crotty, Vincent’s father, says the foundation was set up to help those in need and he’s happy to be able to take some of the pain away from Aidan’s family.
Aidan’s dad, Tim Sullivan, says he and his wife Colleen are touched by the outpouring of love.
One person did a bad thing, but a lot of people are stepping up to help. It proves to us that there are good people out there. We’re very grateful.
And surely no one is more grateful than Aidan himself. But while he is thrilled that he’s finally going to get that ear, he’s got something to say to the criminal who stole his money: “I’m going to kick your butt!”
Image: Robert Kalfus
More on Strollerderby