By Ken MacLeod

HAVERHILL (CBS) – A young girl is beside herself after the charity she created to help sick kids was hacked.

For 10-year-old Noelle Gregoire, who swam across a New Hampshire lake a few weeks ago to raise money for her charity, Laps 4 Backs, it was crushing.

For years, a degenerative spine problem has forced Noelle to wear a cumbersome brace — with surgery to come.

But her challenging visits to Tufts Floating Hospital were always capped off by a trip to their toy closet.

“And that reward at the end was just so significant to her and it just made her happy,” Noelle’s mother Danielle Gregoire said.

Until Noelle was told the toys were donations, which sometimes dry up.

“She understood what it was like to be that kid, to look forward to something,” Danielle said.

“And then I thought, why can’t I do that myself,” Noelle said.

So, she and her mom launched a GoFundMe page and sought swimming sponsors which then funded thousands in toys for the hospital.

On Tuesday, Noelle and her mom decided it was time for some toy shopping, until they learned their account at Haverhill Bank had been drained from $2600 to just $7.

Toys to be donated by Laps 4 Backs (WBZ-TV)

Toys to be donated by Laps 4 Backs (WBZ-TV)

“I want that person who did that unkind act to come and say ‘I’m sorry little girl, I took this from you,’” Danielle said.

Some cyber crook had tapped the account for an Amazon binge.

“They don’t think about other people, they just think about themselves,” Noelle said.

As the bank pledged to make good on the loss, something more remarkable happened. Donors restored $3,000 to the fundraising page in less than 48 hours.

“Some people are just rude but there are actually some nice people in the world,” Noelle said.

So the next delivery of toys is already taking shape with Noelle’s personal stickers on them, so the kids who enjoy them will know they’re from someone — who understands troubled waters.

Ken MacLeod


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