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Ernie Boch Jr. donates $11,000 to transplant survivor after charity abruptly shuts down

Businessman donates $11,000 to Salem transplant survivor after charity closes
Businessman donates $11,000 to Salem transplant survivor after charity closes 02:48

SALEM - A Greater Boston starts with making things right. Earlier this month, WBZ first told you about a grandmother in Salem, who was left in the lurch, after a charity took the $11,000 raised in her name.

It was supposed to help Donna Sinclair recover from a double lung transplant that gave her a second chance, after 12 years on oxygen and the most severe stage of COPD. Now, local business owner Ernie Boch Jr. has stepped up to help.

Sinclair said the act of generosity will help keep her alive. "I just saw a lot more years of my life," said Sinclair. "I feel a lot better; I feel like now we have a chance. Without it, I just had no hope."

Donna Sinclair
Donna Sinclair CBS Boston

Family, friends, and businesses had rallied to donate $35,000 for Donna through the National Foundation for Transplants. However, on April 8, the family got a letter from NFT that they were shutting down and that the money that each patient had in their account would not be given to them.

The family had originally raised around $35,000 and they had about $11,000 left when the foundation announced they were closing.

"What a rotten thing to do and how can you get away with it?" said Sinclair.

"We're very thankful"  

Then Ernie Boch Jr., well-known businessman and CEO of Subaru of New England, got wind of the story and got in touch. He personally stepped in with a check for $11,000 to replace the lost money.

"The next day he was on the phone and told them to cut the check which we're very thankful for that," said Donna Sinclair.

Erniie Boch Jr. Donna Sinclair
Ernie Boch Jr. with Donna and Charles Sinclair CBS Boston

With another second chance, Donna's next step is watching her grandkids grow up and celebrating 50 years with the love of her life who's always been by her side.

"It's just amazing what people do," said Donna's husband Charles Sinclair. "We're in this together and that's the way it's going to stay."

Donna's hope in humanity has been restored.

NFT says donations were for discretionary use  

WBZ had reached out to the National Foundation for Transplants when WBZ first interviewed the family. The organization sent a statement saying:

"Closure has been a difficult but necessary decision. Economic strain post-pandemic, compounded by healthcare inflation and rising operational costs, alongside declining fundraising, necessitates this decision.

All contributions received by National Foundation for Transplants were donated for its discretionary use as a non-profit entity in support of its mission. In this way, we have been able to help as many transplant patients and their families as we could ever hope to be able to. Tax laws and IRS Regulations prevent the earmarking of any donation or gift to NFT to or for the benefit of any specific individual. Gifts previously made have been utilized for serving transplant patients. There will be no funds remaining at closure.

Together, we have raised $98 million, including $84 million through peer-to-peer fundraising efforts and impacting more than 6,400 individuals. This noteworthy achievement speaks volumes about the generosity and compassion of our community. During the last two decades, we have provided an average of $2 million in grants annually to help alleviate the financial burden of transplant-related expenses.

NFT extends its heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has been a part of its journey. The legacy of its mission will endure in the lives it has touched and the hearts it has uplifted."

WBZ reached out to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office and officials say patients who've been impacted can fill out a medical complaint form.

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